By Gary Bunzer,
The RV Doctor
The RV Doctor
The trials and tribulations of RV waste management and odor control have long been a topic of interest on the RV Doctor Website. And typically I try to leave you with a workable solution, rather than just highlight the problem and walk away.
For many years I've extolled the benefits of RM Tank Care, one of the very first enzyme-based, bacteria-infused waste digesters to enter the RV marketplace. And one that truly worked! But alas, some good things are bound to come to an end. And so it is with RM Tank Care. The parent company recently removed RV Tank Care from the market in order to focus on their other products. So the search was on for a replacement product to help RVers everywhere deal with odor control and the breakup of solid, black holding tank waste.
As readers of the RV Doctor Column and website are aware, there are now many such products out there regarding odor control and confusion abounds about how effective they may or may not be. So recently, the good folks at Drainmaster, introduced me to another product, Pure Power Blue, as produced by OP Products. My initial research encouraged me to dig a little deeper.
As part of my due diligence, I typically rely on a close cadre of individuals including RV educators, authors, Master Certified RV service technicians, engineers and others to help direct my personal recommendations. For this product evaluation I called on one of my FOGs (Friends of Gary), author and RV service technician, Chris Dougherty to help with some experimentation.
Since the “Go Green” movement permeated the RV Industry, it's been proven that the use of certain chemicals, including formaldehyde, a common preservative found in RV toilet chemicals, is hazardous to the environment, humans and pets. Just about every company that manufactures these additives now produces a green alternative. OP Products may be the exception since they've only produced "green" additives, avoiding any use of chemicals, from day one. Perfecting upon their development of Pure Power Green, they are now offering what they consider to be the most powerful, easiest to use and most economical RV holding tank additive yet developed, Pure Power Blue, Waste Digester and Odor Eliminator. Pure Power Blue is four times as concentrated as any near competition.
Featuring their proprietary “BioBlast Plus” technology, this new product uses bacteria and enzymes to break down waste naturally and safely. The company states that their biodegradable product will “control odor immediately, even in high heat conditions over 120°F.” In addition, the bacteria and enzymes in their product enhance the sewage and septic systems to which they’re introduced.
Pure Power Blue is available as a liquid in sizes ranging from 4 to 128 ounces. It is also available in convenient, dissolving, single-use pouches, in 6 or 12-pouch packages. The company states that a mere 2 ounces or 1 bio-pouch will treat a 40-gallon tank (an additional dose is recommended for temperatures above 105°F). When it comes to a bacteria-based holding tank treatment solution, a normal question might be: is it safe? According to OP Products, “The bacteria used in [their] products are non-pathogenic, friendly Bacillus bacteria. These types of bacteria are cultivated from natural sources, therefore they are perfectly safe to use in any cleaning or maintenance situation.”
The Pure Power Blue liquid is a lighter color than some of the traditional products and has a pleasant smell when opened. Simply add 2 ounces of Pure Power Blue to a gallon of water and that’s it. The same for the bio-pouch; one gallon or just enough water to cover the bottom of the tank.
One claim the company makes is that it will break down any 2-ply household toilet tissue, meaning there's no need to use RV-specific, quick-dissolve paper, which of course, is more expensive than store brands. So Chris set out to test that claim. Here's his report:
The Experiment: I used two clean glass jars, one with plain tap water and the other with a tap water/Pure Power Blue mixture (about ½ ounce of additive in the jar of water). I then added four sheets of store brand, (generic), 2-ply toilet tissue to each jar.
The Results: In a one hour test, the toilet paper in the plain tap water remained as it was when I inserted it. When stirred, it held together perfectly, without deforming or separating at all. However, in the Pure Power Blue solution, the paper had dissolved almost completely, and upon stirring, was nicely broken down and completely shredded. Clearly, complete dissolving would have occurred within a short time, perhaps another hour or two, but even at this point in time, flushing of holding tanks would have been easy and complete.
In a practical use test over three days in July, I found quite remarkable results. I added a single bio-pouch to the black water tank with a few gallons of water. The system was used by two people during that time and outside temperatures were around 80°F. Upon dumping the tanks, the black tank, which is always dumped and rinsed first, did so with little or no evidence of solids. Nor was there any odor that would normally accompany this process; it was absolutely absent. Upon dumping the grey water from the kitchen, however, where no additive was used, a perceptible odor was noticed. In my many years of RVing experience, this was the first time this phenomenon occurred. It will be interesting to see if this scenario holds up with longer use and more people are using the RV.
There are a couple of things to ponder about most typical bio-agents used for RV odor control. First, if you’ve recently used a formaldehyde-based product, you'll typically need to flush the tanks numerous times to help eliminate the residual formaldehyde which may kill the bacteria. Also, doubled dosages are required during the first few uses until all the old chemical is completely removed. Second, there are some products, like toilet cleansers, sanitizers, sanitizing hand soap, etc., that should not be used in conjunction with typical tank additives. Basically, anything that kills bacteria will render most products inert. Not so with Pure Power Blue. Because of its highly concentrated formula, such cleaning agents will not destroy the live bacteria. Remember, it's four times as potent as any other product on the market!
Test Conclusion: Pure Power Blue Waste Digester and Odor Eliminator is a great addition to the RVing lifestyle, making holding tank duties easier and more pleasant, plus it's good for the environment and RV park septic systems as well. A win-win for everyone. And remember, RVing is more than a hobby, it is a lifestyle!