Is sewer gas in RV dangerous?

In this article, we will explain: Is sewer gas in RV dangerous? We will discuss the proper maintenance of an RV sewage system, and tell you how to clean it and eliminate bad odours from your RV toilet once and for all. 

Is sewer gas in RV dangerous?

Yes, sewer gas in RV can be dangerous. If exposed to sewer gas you experience the following symptoms, please call your doctor or attend the nearest emergency department as soon as possible:

  • fatigue.
  • headaches.
  • nausea or vomiting.
  • dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • poor memory and concentration.

The decomposition of the sewage in your mobile sewage tank is a natural process that starts automatically. However, it is broken down by anaerobic bacteria. These are the same bacteria that, while breaking down impurities in the water, also give off that rotten egg smell. These microorganisms make the toilet of your motorhome or caravan start to stink.

How to prevent sewer gas leaks in an RV?

In order for the RV sewer system to work at its best, you must empty, clean and maintain it properly. Below is a list of DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to the sewer system of your RV. 

Thus, you should:

  1. Practice water conservation. By limiting the amount of water used, you will preserve and extend the life of the wastewater system. 
  2. Repair all leaking plumbing fixtures. 
  3. Install/maintain energy-efficient toilets in your RV bathroom.

You should not:

  1. Attempt to carry out septic system repairs without contacting a contractor, plumbing or septic system maintenance qualified for assistance.
  2. Do not use any special additives for septic tanks that they claim will improve the performance of septic systems. 
  3. Do not pour RV waste into the septic system.
  4. Do not use concentrated chloride products in your RV toilet. Chloride damages seals and rubber gaskets that are on your toilet, which could lead to leaks and flushing excessive water in the septic system.
  5. Do not dispose of ash, char, sand, mud, straw, shavings, metal, glass, rags, feathers, pitch, plastics, wood, manure, or any other solid or viscous substance in the system that is capable of causing obstructions in the flow of the sewers or any other interference with the proper operation of the RV septic tank.

How to eliminate the sewer gas smell inside an RV?

Many people use chemicals to fix the odour released by the sewer gas. Obviously, this works, but it is not good for the environment and they are dangerous for children. If the campsite or motorhome has its own water purification system, the chemicals are a disaster for the effectiveness of that water purification system.

Fortunately, there is also an effective, biological solution. We have products in our range that work on the basis of aerobic (non-malodorous) bacteria rather than anaerobic bacteria that give off this unpleasant odour.

 For example, you can use Roebic Black Water Products and Bio-Septic Tablets. This product quickly breaks down odours, faeces, paper, grease, etc. of sewage. This turns your sewage tank into a mini biological water purification!

  1. Roebic Black Water is specially designed for the maintenance of the holding tank that is connected to your toilet. This unique product contains proprietary bacteria that counter tank stench by anaerobic (smelly) bacteria to cope and a pleasant odour.
  1. Bio-Septic tablets. Address bad smells from your toilet. Would you like to get rid of the bad smell from the toilet of your caravan or motorhome? Then you can use the above product. 

How can I avoid bad smells from the RV toilet?

Bacteria that break down impurities in sewage are a biological way to break them down, but they are also very fragile. There are a number of reasons why aerobic (non-malodorous) bacteria can be disrupted and anaerobic (malodorous) bacteria can take over. 

This is easy to prevent by including the following things to watch out for:

  • Overuse of toilet paper – By flushing paper excessively down the toilet, spoilage bacteria have to work hard to break it down. If they cannot cope with this, the bacteria cannot cope with the decomposition and odour and clogging arise. 

Tip: Try to limit the use of toilet paper as much as possible, or be sure to throw the toilet paper in a trash can.

  • Using biological cleaners instead of chlorinated ones. Use your aerobic bacteria in your tank. Be that careful with toilet bowl cleaners that contain chlorine. These are great at killing bacteria but, as the name suggests, they are not very conducive to the aerobic bacteria working in the tank. 

Try using an eco-friendly toilet bowl cleaner when cleaning the toilet. They do not contain chlorine and therefore have no effect on the action of microorganisms in your holding tank.

  • Regularly emptying the sewage tank. This is a bit of a stretch, but if the sewage tank is not emptied often enough, it can also cause unpleasant odours. Make sure to empty the holding tank regularly. Especially at higher temperatures, when it can start to swell in the tank. This prevents traffic jams and bad smells from taking over the entire motorhome or caravan.

How to empty and clean the sewage tank?

The grey water tank is made up of the water that falls through the sink, shower or hand basin and the black water tank contains the water from the toilet. The caravan warns us when they are full and these deposits must be emptied only in authorized and authorized sites, which are usually located in campsites.

Emptying the grey water tank is also simple, you just have to place your vehicle near the authorized place and turn the stopcock that is located on the underside of the motorhome, the dirty water will start to come out until it is completely emptied.

In addition, you must also be careful with these deposits, as they can generate bad odours, so it would be appropriate to clean them regularly with specific products for their care.

Finally, the sewage tank, also known as the cassette, is located just below the toilet and must also be emptied in authorized areas. You just have to remove the tank, empty it into the sewer and clean it with the specific products. Afterwards, you must add a little water and put it back in its place.

Final advice

Maintaining your RV sewage system is a must if you want to safely ride in your RV. How often you should dump the black water tank is relative and depends on how much you use it. As a general rule, we could say that it is a good idea to think about unloading them when it reaches ¾ of the full tank, to avoid the urgency of unloading it anywhere, overflows and unpleasant odours.

There are level gauges that indicate the amount of water in each of the tanks, however, over time these sensors stop working well. This happens because dirt, trash or paper is stuck on them and they make an incorrect reading. Therefore, I recommend that you be aware of approximately how much water is in each one.

As you can read above, a toilet holding tank needs a different approach than the normal toilet connected to the municipal sewer system. Do you have any questions about the maintenance of the toilet and the sewage tank of your RV or caravan? Then do not hesitate to contact us.

FAQ on Is sewer gas in RV dangerous?

What is the procedure to treat sewage?

Wastewater treatment begins with the physical separation of large solids (garbage) from their current, using a system of grids (meshes), although such wastes can also be crushed by special equipment; subsequently, a grit is applied (separation of solids)

How to clean the clean water tank of an RV?

To clean the clean water tank of an RV, follow this guideline: for each litre of water, you must add 2 drops of 5% chlorine. If you do, your water will be much more drinkable and clean, eliminating the risk of acquiring different diseases. At we have many years of experience renting and improving your caravan.

Where to dump the sewage?

The sewage is poured directly into an aseptic tank or cassette. The tanks or cassettes that collect the sewage have a rotating tube through which they are discharged into the corresponding drain, and which must be connected to an aseptic pit or the sewer.


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