How to avoid a black tank poop pyramid

Avoid the Poop Pyramid

Tony FlammiaRV Tech Tips, Tech Tip Tuesdays


Greetings, RV community! Today, we’re diving deep into a topic that may not be the most glamorous but is certainly crucial for any seasoned or aspiring RV enthusiast. Inspired by the informative video “Avoid the Poop Pyramid” produced by the National RV Training Academy, this blog aims to expand on the subject, offering detailed insights into what a poop pyramid is, its causes, prevention strategies, and solutions. Let’s ensure your RV adventures are memorable for all the right reasons! Watch the full tech tip video at the bottom of the blog.

What is a Poop Pyramid?

In the world of RVing, the term “poop pyramid” refers to an unpleasant situation occurring in the black water tank, where solid waste accumulates into a pyramid-like structure. This occurs primarily due to insufficient water use during toilet flushing and can lead to blockages, odors, and a challenging cleanup process.

Causes of a Poop Pyramid

  1. Inadequate Water Usage: The primary culprit is not using enough water when flushing. Water helps break down solid waste, allowing it to flow smoothly into and out of the tank.
  2. Leaky Gate Valves: A partially open or leaking gate valve can let liquids escape while trapping solids, facilitating the pyramid build-up.
  3. Irregular Tank Maintenance: Infrequent emptying or cleaning of the black water tank can exacerbate the problem.
  4. Use of Non-RV Friendly Products: Using toilet paper or chemicals not designed for RV systems can contribute to solid waste accumulation.

Prevention Strategies

  1. Generous Flushing: Use ample water when flushing. This simple step ensures that waste is adequately diluted and less likely to stick to the tank’s bottom.
  2. Regular Maintenance: Empty the black water tank regularly and flush it with clean water to prevent residue buildup.
  3. Proper Chemicals: Use RV-specific chemicals that help break down waste and control odors.
  4. Appropriate Toilet Paper: Opt for toilet paper that is RV-safe and designed to dissolve quickly.
  5. Monitor Gate Valve Function: Regularly check the gate valve for leaks and ensure it closes completely.

How to Fix a Poop Pyramid

If you find yourself facing this issue, here’s how to tackle it:

  1. Chemical Treatment: There are specific products designed to break down solid waste accumulations in black water tanks. Follow the product instructions carefully.
  2. Manual Intervention: In extreme cases, it might be necessary to manually break up the pyramid. This task is not for the faint of heart and might require professional assistance.
  3. Thorough Flushing: Once the bulk of the waste is removed, flush the tank several times with clean water to ensure all residue is cleared out.
  4. Check and Repair the Gate Valve: If a leaky gate valve contributed to the problem, have it repaired or replaced.


The infamous poop pyramid is a preventable and solvable issue in the RV world. By understanding its causes and employing proactive maintenance strategies, you can keep your black water tank in top condition. Remember, regular care and attention are key to a hassle-free RV experience. For more tips and insights, keep an eye on the National RV Training Academy’s resources. Safe travels and happy RVing!