Making It All Work

Material List:

– (1) 15 gallon food grade water barrel

– (1) 15 gallon steel drum

– (1) 3” toilet flange

– (1) RV sewer trap assembly

– (1) 15′ RV waste hose

– (1) flange for waste coming in

– (8) 1 1/2” bolts

– (8) nuts and washers for the bolts

– (2) tubes of silicone

– (6) binder straps

Tool List:

– Tape measure, pencil, permanent marker,

– jigsaw

– angle grinder, hard wheel assembly

– wrenches, pliers

– socket set

Making the entire system work, was a feat that I fretted for some time. I had no real ideal of how to hook up the water tanks, or for that matter, where I would find them. Marty and his brilliance, within a one 10 hour day, helped me make this system a reality. He found on the side of the road two plastic, food grade water barrels, and one steel barrel. All three tanks have a 15 gallon capacity. The two plastic food grade water barrels will be used for fresh water and gray water. The steel barrel will be used for the waste holding tank.

Prepping these tanks was something to be very careful and considerate about. We had to figure out a way to cut, and design our own layout to make this work. I will start with the waste tank. Similarly as the toilet, there needed to be a two flanges installed, one for the waste coming into the tank, and the other for the emptying.

I laid the flange onto the waste tank and marked the 3” hole and all the bolt holes with a permanent marker. To make a clean-cut with the jigsaw I first drilled out three holes inside of the 3” diameter hole and then put a metal blade on the jig saw. I cut out the hole and then spread silicone around the perimeter. I lined the flange up and pressed it down firmly. I placed the 2” bolts into the holes and began to fasten them. This was a real challenge. I had to shove my hand into the tank and line up the nuts with the bolts. I threaded them all down tight, and made sure to silicone the perimeter of the flange on the outside as well. This flange is for the water coming out, when I am feeding it to an RV waste removal port. The RV open and close gate flange was then fastened onto the protruding flange on the steel drum. Now, when I need to dump the waste at any station, I simply lock on the sewer hose to this trap.

Then, I open up the flow gate and the entire system empties itself properly.

After dry fitting the steel waste tank into place, we marked the line on the tank for the waste coming in. We then pulled it back down, and cut the line in with the jigsaw. This is a similar flange, but instead the fitting is made for the waste coming into the tank from the toilet.

Once these fittings were installed we worked the steel barrel back up under the back of the bus and mounted it. When mounting, we cut a 2” wide by 1/8” thick hole into the frame-work. We worked straps around the barrel and through the cut holes in the frame. After the waste tank is mounted I made the rest of the PVC connections from the toilet to the insert in the tank. I cleaned, primed, and glued the PVC fittings together.


It is now time to move onto the fresh water tank installation. We created a set-up to allow the water to feed into the tank and then up through the floor into the 12 volt water pump.  The water lines under the bus are 2″ PVC lines and fittings. We strapped both the fresh and gray water tanks into place, exactly as we had done with the waste tank.

To allow water to get into the tank I then cut out a small 2” diameter hole on the passenger side of the bus. We put a 90 degree bend on the 2″ water line coming in and a threaded cap. When I need to fill up my water, I simply unthread the cap and pour 15 gallons into the reservoir.


In reverse, the water coming from the sink and shower will run through a 2″ PVC water line under the bus and into the gray water tank. On the bottom of the tank I fixed a few fittings to allow a garden hose set-up. This way, when I need to empty the gray water tank I hook up a standard hose under the bus, properly where it is to go, and then open up the valve.

Homey Touches

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