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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-30-2008
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That Smell!

I have a headmate head that functions reasonably well. It leaks a little from the top of the pump handle when you pump it, but other than that it works. But whenever it is used everyone on deck knows it because it stinks like hell. I keep the holding tank pumped out as much as possible and have tried adding that enzyme stuff to the tank.
Why is this happening? Is this a vent issue? Is it a holding tank issue? Can holding tanks be deodorized? Is there a way to wash out the holding tank? Like fill it with some kind of detergent and then pump it out? Any suggestions about how to eliminate this problem (pun intended)?
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Old 07-30-2008
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Sounds like the vent hose on your tank is partially clogged. That would reduce the amount of air getting into the tank. The bacteria that make the holding tank stink are anaerobic, so you really want the tank to have good air circulation. Cleaning out the vent line and adding a second vent might help a lot.
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Old 07-30-2008
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You could also have an old and permeated 1.5" discharge line. Often this is the primary cause for head odors and you can tell by wiping it down with a warm wet rag and smelling the rag. If the rag smells of sewage then the hose should be replaced with a high quality sanitation hose.
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Old 07-30-2008
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This may be one of the better sanitation hoses on the market.

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Old 07-30-2008
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Thanks Free, I was wondering. Last year I replaced all the head hoses with the stuff from Worst Marine? So what is the best brand, because the WM stuff is just OK?

Wow, and at $7.50 a foot it'd better be good
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Old 07-30-2008
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We had he same problem with our last two boats. It was only the first few flushes and it was a rotten egg smell of gases escaping out of the vent hose and then wafting back into the cockpit. We bought one of those carbon filters and put it on the vent line. It solved the symptom but it's my understanding that expert Peggy Hall does not recommend them. Over on SSCA, a fellow said you could get buy a carbon filter for filtering your refrigerator water supply line and use it. I bought one to give it a try and didn't like the small diameter inlets and outlets, so went back to the gold plated one that marine stores sell.
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I think there are two issues here. The original post said that everyone on deck knows you have used the head. This happens because gas is forced out of the above deck tank vent as the liquid enters the tank. You can install a filter in the vent line to capture the odor. Search the Internet for a Sealand SaniGard Holding Tank Vent Filter.

The rotten egg smell coming from the head itself during the first few flushes is likely from the intake seawater. When you don't use the head for a while the microorganisms in the seawater breakdown anaerobically in the intake hose which creates the sulfur smell. When you flush you pull the stinky water in the bowl. There are few solutions. Add a Y valve (and a check valve) so you can pull water from you tanks for flushing. You only need to use the fresh water for the last flush or two before you leave the boat. Add the valve as close to the seawater intake as you can. Or you can by a small inline treatment item that adds a chemical to the intake water as water flows past it. Or you can open a hatch when you arrive at the boat and flush the head a few times. As long as you use the head twice a day or there shouldn't be time for the anaerobic decay to to happen.

Last edited by SteveInMD; 07-30-2008 at 09:58 AM.
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The best sanitation hose is probably Sealand's ODORsafe hose, but it is pretty expensive and fairly stiff and hard to work with as a result. It is far more resistant to odor permeation than other hose.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
The best sanitation hose is probably Sealand's ODORsafe hose, but it is pretty expensive and fairly stiff and hard to work with as a result. It is far more resistant to odor permeation than other hose.

Yep I agree and this is the link for them that I posted earlier in the thread.


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Old 07-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freesail99 View Post
Yep I agree and this is the link for them that I posted earlier in the thread.


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Read the thread DoG!
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