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Separett Villa toilet urine line clogged

 
Posts: 22
Location: Alpine, Texas: 5,400 ft elev, desert grassland foothills
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I thought someone in this thread may have a urine-diverting toilet and could help.  Our 6 year old Separett Villa has a clogged urine line.  I had been trying to keep it clear with white vinegar sometimes, and biokleen enzyme cleaner foam spray sometimes, and of course water, and recently it was so slow I tried hydrogen pperoxide, which seems to have loosened so much material that it clogged it.  Following on the advice from Separett we used drano as the last resort... And I don't think this slope and diameter of line is meant for that, nor probably for letting it sit overnight because it wasn't working... For now it is fully fully clogged without even a slow drain.  Sadly we've built around it over the years and I can't fathom how to get it out to be able to directly poke at the connection of the "back" end of the urine line to the pipe in the wall (goes to buried grey-only field) so I"m hoping to next siphon out the line (drano, vinegar, water) to get boilng water directly onto the backmost, probably clogged area.  

Has anyone with a toilet like this had this problem?  
 
pollinator
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I'm not familiar with this toilet, but I am familiar with the crystallization build up that occurs with urine. I use an automotive funnel for urine collection, and if it is not rinsed with water after use, crystallization of the urine left on the inside surface at the lower end of the funnel will eventually build up and clog it. I remove the build up by simply running an appropriate sized wooden dowel down the funnel throat, but of course that won't work for you. I have found that vinegar doesn't work on that sludge build up at all.

Thinking along these lines, could you run a semi-stiff wire down the discharge tube? Perhaps a piece of single strand electrical wiring? You may have to breakdown and replace the tubing, which I'm guessing will be a major endeavor.
 
Jesse Kelsch
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Location: Alpine, Texas: 5,400 ft elev, desert grassland foothills
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Hi Su Ba!  Thanks for your insights, especially about vinegar.  Separett sells an enzyme solution (of course) that they recommend to use regularly.  I did have some success this morning with a skinnier snake I bought at the hardware store... It didn't do the trick entirely but did bring out SOME waxy yellow stuff along witha  few hairs... After the snake I ran a siphon to clear out the line with the express purpose of re-pouring boiling water that this time would hopefully get right to the clog that's 3 feet way back there, and after the siphon, thank heavens and earth that it is draining slowly.  I'm going to repeat this process several times now:  siphon then boiling water.... I always love and appreciate a physical solution over a chemical one but the snake still doesn't go past the clog so that obvious one didn't work, but siphon-plus-boiling water hopefully will get it to where I can attack it with the manufacturer-recommended enzymes now and in the future.  
 
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I don't know what the unit looks like, but could you blow compressed air down the line to clear it?
 
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Hello Jesse. My experience with a urine diverter involved a 1 1/4 " p trap which would clog to the point I needed to disassemble it every couple months. I am currently using a separett privy kit which I believe has a similar smooth hose to yours. Im going to try to stay on my game making sure that some vinegar makes it through there every week or so, but I also am mentally preparing for the possibilty of needing to snake it out if it comes down to it.

I am glad to hear that you were able to get some flow to happen and take the emergency down to a code yellow.... sorry I have to stop for a second... anyway my advice would be to appreciate this as a gift of time rather than a pass to move on. Situations like this have a tendency to become a real drain.... ok im really soory... a drain on one's time and energy and if I were in your position I would make anothe post on the building forum in order to get some assistance planning the seemingly impossible task of modifying your plumbing to be more maintainable. It might seem really impossible right now but with the adrenaline of a non functional toilet out of the way, you might be surprised how clever we can get with the labroscopic house surgery. Electricians are really smart about this sort of thing, though I don't know the particulars of your situation. I think I remember a couple examples that demonstrate this sort of thought in Art Ludwig's laundry to landscape video as well.

Another thing I wonder about is whether constant water flow would help this problem in the long run. My urine diverter has a little attatched piece that might allow water, perhaps from handwashing as I witnessed in a brad lancaster youtube video, to rinse the diverter without cutting a hard to clean hole. If anybody has any experience with this Id love to hear about it, as I would really like to try this soon.

Either way I hope you can figure out a way to snake the struggles out of your bathroom so the bodily functions do not become a source of distress. Best of luck in going with the flow!
 
Jesse Kelsch
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Location: Alpine, Texas: 5,400 ft elev, desert grassland foothills
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Thank you all for your insights.  We ended up taking the toilet out and removing a couple of wall tiles plus the hardibacker behind them to try to get at the clog from there.... And found a lot of pale sludgy stuff that I'm sure is baking soda.  I had followed the approximately 1,000 blogs that said you should put baking soda and vinegar down your drains to clean them...... Until in a more recent and more critical search I found some notes on this practice describing that the effervescence of this reaction is not strong enough to dislodge physical things.... and that it's most common to use too much baking soda.  

We ended up rerouting the plumbing and we are very happily going with the flow again.  And I've switched to boiling soapy water to clean my kitchen drains..... And plain old hot water after every pee down our Separett toilet now.  
 
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Hello! Thanks for all the info!! Had the same problem….what a pain, and so gross, this was helpful!
 
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Seems a pity to heat water to clean a urine pipe, would cold water be just as good?
 
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I'm late to the party but I'm having similar issues. The urine diverter has a very slow drain that's caused a ton of backsplash around the bucket! Ew! We cleaned the mess and used a drop of dawn, sprinkle of baking soda, and vinegar last week.  It seemed on for a week. After several midnight urinating between two of us, we were upset to discover the problem happened again...
After a bunch of research we bought Campa Fresh enzyme cleaner but it says it's a holding tank treatment. I'm not sure if it's the same as drain cleaner but we're broke tiny home dwellers in a rural area and didn't have a large selection.
It says to use up to 6oz followed by a gallon of water. I used about 20 oz down the urinal followed by 3 kettles of boiling water. The drain bubbled a lot. I can see some calcification that moved a little. It started draining but it still seems as if something is blocked. I believe this cleaner may continue working overnight so we'll see.
 
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I've had my Separett Villa for two years. My urine line is fed into a "urine pit" and part of the hose is accessible. I have been pouring vinegar and water down the urine line every time I use it but mine just clogged. What I did to unclog it (not sure how long it will last) is to pour liquid soap  (I use Oasis) into the urine bowl, then boiling water. I let it sit for about 15 minutes. I then went outside and lifted and dropped the hose several times. My hose has a slight kink in it so I concentrated my efforts there. I repeated this process three times and it worked. My toilet came with a couple of blue tablets that I never used because I wasn't sure how earth friendly they are so I plopped one in the bowl and pour some boiling water over it...maybe it has enzymes that can help?
I would love to know a more long term solution to this issue, if there is one.

Good luck!
Lisa
 
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Hi Lisa,

Welcome to Permies.
 
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Ugh! I've been thinking of getting one of these for out outhouse, but it sounds quite a common problem with this model. I hope you can find an easier solution to the blockage, Lisa.
 
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Look no further πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ™ŒπŸ» -- I had tried everything to unclog this ongoing issue. The vinegar and hot water was only a temporary fix, Draino would take days to drain, and the snake could not reach the back where the issue was... Once I finally got in touch with Seperatt, they suggested I replace the internal urine pipe (the blue/white one that the urine goes directly into and drains on the inside wall of the unit to the back pipe - Google search image of im not making it clear enough). I read a review there that said they could've just cleaned it instead of replacing it -- so there you have it. You simply unscrew the two yellow tops on either side of of the blue urine catcher. Wiggle the pipe out. The smudge in mine was intense and disgusting towards the end of it. I hosed it out, clean as new and put it back in. Make sure you connect the other 2 pipes back to it towards the back end (one is behind the toilet unit and one is a little hose part - you will see these when you're in there). I had an after thought that I should've used the snake to poke out the second tube in the back that this connects and drains into the gray water - and might have to do this at a later time, I'm not sure - but it is now draining perfectly. I can't believe this problem I've struggled with for months on end, and have resorted to peeing outside (I'm a female πŸ˜’) was this simple to fix!! I hope this helps others!!
 
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Kayla Gtz wrote:Look no further πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ™ŒπŸ» -- I had tried everything to unclog this ongoing issue. The vinegar and hot water was only a temporary fix, Draino would take days to drain, and the snake could not reach the back where the issue was... Once I finally got in touch with Seperatt, they suggested I replace the internal urine pipe (the blue/white one that the urine goes directly into and drains on the inside wall of the unit to the back pipe - Google search image of im not making it clear enough). I read a review there that said they could've just cleaned it instead of replacing it -- so there you have it. You simply unscrew the two yellow tops on either side of of the blue urine catcher. Wiggle the pipe out. The smudge in mine was intense and disgusting towards the end of it. I hosed it out, clean as new and put it back in. Make sure you connect the other 2 pipes back to it towards the back end (one is behind the toilet unit and one is a little hose part - you will see these when you're in there). I had an after thought that I should've used the snake to poke out the second tube in the back that this connects and drains into the gray water - and might have to do this at a later time, I'm not sure - but it is now draining perfectly. I can't believe this problem I've struggled with for months on end, and have resorted to peeing outside (I'm a female πŸ˜’) was this simple to fix!! I hope this helps others!!




How did you get the tube out? Did you have to disconnect the toilet from the wall?
 
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