Black Tank Pyramids are No Match for Camco’s RV Flexible Swivel Stik - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Black Tank Pyramids are No Match for Camco’s RV Flexible Swivel Stik

by | Nov 17, 2021 | Cool Gadgets, RVEXPERT

Camco’s Swivel Stik throws a strong spray of water inside the tank. Here, the valve is barely cracked open to illustrate the spray pattern. When opened fully, the spray is strong enough to dislodge stubborn waste.
Dumping a black holding tank is not rocket science, but it does conjure up fears of getting that nasty stuff on your hands or ground — which plays right into the best campfire stories.
There are a number of techniques on how to clean these tanks circulating on the Internet, but one thing is for sure: preventing the dreaded “poo pyramid” inside the tank is crucial to a free-flowing system and odor control. The RV Flexible Swivel Stik from Camco is a must-have accessory to carry in your tool arsenal that will help keep black tanks clean.

Many black holding tanks these days are fitted with a built-in flusher, which should be used every time the tank is emptied. These systems use a spray nozzle, usually mounted to the side of the tank, and are connected to a hose that forces water through a rotating nozzle inside the tank. But while the tank flusher gets much of the contents to flow out the dump hose, there are times when it’s just not powerful enough to thoroughly clean the tank — and owners of RVs built without this feature can find themselves in an even more precarious situation.

showing the wand is 55 ½ inches long
When opened, the wand is 55 ½ inches long. This flexible version is designed for cleaning holding tanks that are not directly under the toilet. Swivel Stik folds in half for easier storage. Keep in mind that this wand must be cleaned and sanitized before storing. We discovered that it fit perfectly inside the dump hoses stored in the bumper.

The Swivel Stik is available with a solid or flexible shaft, depending on how the toilet is connected to the tank. If the toilet is mounted directly over the holding tank, the solid version is needed; when the tank uses a curved connector pipe, the 55 ½-inch flexible model does the trick. For this evaluation, the Flexible Swivel Stik was needed.

There’s nothing fancy about this product. It’s connected to a water hose and routed into the tank through the toilet valve. (Always dedicate a hose for this purpose; it’s not safe to use a drinking water hose that will also be used to hook up the RV to an outside source.) On one end of the Swivel Stik is the threaded hose fitting with an on/off valve and on the other is a nozzle that provides a strong rotary spray of water necessary to dislodge solids in the tank.

To clean the tank, the contents are first dumped in the normal manner. If you have a tank flusher, use it before the Swivel Stik. Once the tank is empty, leave the discharge valve open and insert the Swivel Stick through the toilet valve as far as possible. You’ll need to keep the toilet valve open by engaging the flushing lever by hand or foot, depending on the toilet model, so first turn off the water source. Allowing the toilet valve to snap shut on the Swivel Stick tube may damage the valve. To help, a device called the “Johnny Chock” ($9.46 on Amazon) can be inserted to keep the toilet valve open hands-free. Move the lever to the “On” position and let the rotary spray nozzle do its thing.

rotary fitting at the end
the on/off valve
A brass rotary fitting at the end of the wand throws a strong spray pattern of water, specifically designed to clean black water holding tanks. A hose is attached to the end of the wand with the on/off valve. This valve makes it easy for one person to control the water. Never use a hose that provides city water service to the RV; it’s best to dedicate a hose for cleaning the tank, like Camco’s clean-out hose which is a different color to stand out.

While it may seem redundant to use the built-in tank flusher and the Swivel Stik, our testing revealed that the latter will remove leftover solids that did not make it out during the initial tank rinsing.

Using plenty of water when flushing and agitation on the road usually will keep the tank flowing without clogging. Final rinsing with the Swivel Stik will ensure the tank is clean and ready for use during the next outing.

routed through the toilet valve
The Swivel Stik is routed through the toilet valve (turn off city water source) into the holding tank via the connecting pipe. Holding open the flushing mechanism during the cleaning process will prevent damaging the toilet valve.

Those RVers who are on the road and only stop for a few days to a couple of weeks may only have to use the Swivel Stik just before storing the rig. Owners who stay put for long periods of time may find that the lack of agitation inside the tank may create an unwanted build-up of waste, which will impact the flow during dumping and lead to a noxious odor. Full timers should consider using the Swivel Stik once a month and have the tank professionally pressure washed annually.

Although the Swivel Stik folds up for easy storage, keep in mind that it’s used in a very unsanitary environment, so don disposable gloves and clean it thoroughly with a throw-away rag or paper towel with a disinfecting solution before placing in any compartment. The Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik is available at Amazon for around $25, or from most RV supply stores.

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