Clean or replace holding tank? - Page 2 - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 


Like Tree1Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #11  
Old 11-05-2012
RobGallagher's Avatar
HANUMAN
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Noank, Connecticut, USA
Posts: 1,318
Thanks: 7
Thanked 12 Times in 11 Posts
Rep Power: 13
RobGallagher is on a distinguished road
Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
The original vent is nearly useless. It is 5/8" and probably has to snake through 12 of tubing before being T'd into a deck drain to get air. The new vent though is very direct, short, and huge, so I feel like I've solved the ventilation issue.

My guess is that I have a strong culture of the anaerobic cultures living in my holding tank and no level of rinsing is going to get them out of there (especially if they are the scum on the side of the tank). That is why I was wondering if a heavy cleaning to get rid of them might allow me to change the bacterial balance towards aerobic bacteria.

Rob suggested that I'm leaving a lot of dead sea creatures in my toilet and lines when we leave the boat. I actually try to avoid this by flushing half a gallon of fresh water (from the sink) through the head whenever we leave the boat.
Interesting. It seems you are doing everything right but still having problems.

Even if there is sludge, I can't imagine it stinks that much more or less than what one would leave in a partially full tank for a few days.

Attack this like you would an engine diagnostic. Start all over again and check everything. IF the tank is vented properly, all hoses, pumps and the whatnot are not leaking gas, then the build up of pressure (gas) as the "stuff" starts to break down should simply exit the vent. Yes, you could get some residual odor, but it shouldn't be that bad.

However, IF there is a flaw in the system...

I would still try using only fresh water for at least a couple of weeks, only because it worked so well for me. Remember to shut off your sea water intake at the through hull. The mechanics in those head pumps are not all that great and you may still suck some sea water. Hell, I might even try removing the intake hose completely.

OHHHHHHH>>>>>>>> holy crap!!!! Something just whacked me upside the head (puns intended)! Is it possible that the gas is coming back up the lines through the toilet itself? Do you leave water in the bowl? What position do you leave the pump mechanism in? IF, IF, IF you have an open airway from the tank via the hoses up through your toilet then that could be your problem.

Even if said airway does not go all the way to the holding tank, it could still be getting to sea water or muck left in your lines.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #12  
Old 11-05-2012
Alex W's Avatar
always busy with sailing
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,075
Thanks: 2
Thanked 121 Times in 116 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Alex W is on a distinguished road
Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

I haven't replaced the original vent hose. I think I'll pick up a plug for it today rather than replacing the whole thing, it is so long that I can't see it being that useful.

The stench that is coming out is much worse than I can imagine from such a tiny hose.

I think I am going to replace the holding tank, using this as an excuse to upgrade a little bit in size and to switch to a holding tank design where all hoses enter and exit through the top. I'm just trying to find someone on the west coast with a Sealand 20 HTS-VRT in stock (and seeing how long it will take for Fisheries Supply to get one to me).

svHyLyte -- I've read that article, but the product that they recommend ("Head-O-Matic Shock Treatment") doesn't appear to be available in Seattle and I haven't seen that claims to have similar properties. I've read all of the DIY solutions of fabric softener and laundry detergent, but don't want to create some other chemical mess in there that I need to clean out on top of the current problems.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #13  
Old 11-05-2012
Gene T's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Left Coast USA
Posts: 666
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Gene T is on a distinguished road
Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

Get rid of that used 5/8 hose. It can stink more than you know. The biggest problem with it is it probably is not sanitation hose. That turned out to be the problem with a N30 I owned years ago. The manufacturer had run it forward to the anchor locker, must have been 8 feet long with low spots to collect water.

Gene
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Currently in Long Beach, CA
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #14  
Old 11-05-2012
overbored's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Dana Point, Ca
Posts: 941
Thanks: 1
Thanked 35 Times in 35 Posts
Rep Power: 4
overbored is on a distinguished road
Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

had the same problem. the PO had just replaced all the hoses before we bought the boat. the 5/8 vent hose he used some clear plastic hose and after about 6 months the boat stunk bad. replaced the 4 foot long hose with the right kind and all is well.
__________________
"FULL TILT" SOVEREL 33
"GOLD RUSH" PRINDLE 16
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #15  
Old 11-05-2012
pdqaltair's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Deale, MD
Posts: 2,104
Thanks: 1
Thanked 24 Times in 24 Posts
Rep Power: 6
pdqaltair is on a distinguished road
Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

I did both the chemical and hose testing for Practical Sailor.

a. Yes, if the vent hose is not sanitation hose, it can be very bad (was on my boat--they used common clear vinyl hose). You won't find Trident in that size but can get the white sanitation hose in 5/8-inch. If the vent is vinyl, it may well be the problem. Easy fix.

b. KO is a bacterial product and did not do well if there was ANY ventilation trouble or cold weather. Sounds like you have both. Try Oderlos (provides oxygen as nitrate), Camco TST Ultra (also nitrate) or Forespar Refresh. These will work in a complimentary way with the KO.

edit: I should add that what works well in one part of the country may be different in another. KO and Nature Zyme are great summer and Florida product, but not so much when the water is cold.

c. Saltwater is only a bowl odor issue. Spray a little Camco in the bowl and that problem will go away.
Sail Delmarva: Something Free, Something Lazy

And of course, check one last time for leaks.

And subscribe to Practical Sailor. The "search" function on the PS web site unlocks a HUGE amount of testing.
__________________
(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

"Well, I just climb up to them."

by Joe Brown, English rock climber




To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by pdqaltair; 11-05-2012 at 12:42 PM.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #16  
Old 11-06-2012
Alex W's Avatar
always busy with sailing
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,075
Thanks: 2
Thanked 121 Times in 116 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Alex W is on a distinguished road
Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

Thanks all. I'll take care of the 5/8" vent next time I'm at the boat. I'm just going to remove it, I don't think that it can be that helpful when I also have a 1-1/2" vent.

I'm already a PS subscriber and think that I've read everything that they've written about heads and holding tanks. It's a good resource.

I do leave some fresh water in my bowl when I'm not on the boat.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #17  
Old 11-06-2012
overbored's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Dana Point, Ca
Posts: 941
Thanks: 1
Thanked 35 Times in 35 Posts
Rep Power: 4
overbored is on a distinguished road
Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

if you change all the hoses to the proper type and you still have a smell in the boat then it would have to be a leak in the system somewhere. it should not mater what is in the tank or how much treatment is used. it should not smell in the boat. I once had a leak in the gasket for the tank top cleanout. the gasket had a very small crack. the way we found it was to pressurize the system with the tank full. the leak was very small but the smell was very big. fixed the problem by putting grease on the gasket.
__________________
"FULL TILT" SOVEREL 33
"GOLD RUSH" PRINDLE 16
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #18  
Old 11-06-2012
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: SF - South Bay
Posts: 509
Thanks: 1
Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts
Rep Power: 5
paul323 is on a distinguished road
Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

Somewhere I remember reading about an lady who was an expert on heads, with load of advice...google Peggy Hall the Head Mistress. She literally wrote the book on it, and used to hang out at cruisers forum.

I remember one piece of her advice which I have yet to try - dump a couple of bags of ice cubes into the waste tank, along with non-foaming washing liquid, go sailing. When you return, pump out and flush. The idea being that the ice cubes gently rock around, gently abrading/cleaning and residue in the tank.

Also - I am sure that you have thought of this - sulfurous smells often come from sea water, as the marine organisms die either in your head, or sometimes in the bilge - thus the recommendations for fresh water use. Personally - and I still have a slight smell I cannot locate, so am no expert :-) - I keep a bottle of vinegar on board, and slosh some of that into the head. It seems to help.

I just hate the idea of you trying to remove that tank. I can only imagine what a messy job that would be - and the mess would stink for quite a while. A last resort - I hope there is another way. Good luck!!
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #19  
Old 11-06-2012
RichH's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,752
Thanks: 9
Thanked 64 Times in 57 Posts
Rep Power: 15
RichH will become famous soon enough
Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

The holding tank is a 'fermentation vessel' when filled with 'waste' and unless the tank walls are 'transpiring' or permeating the noxious gases right through the tank walls (quite possible with thin wall fiberglass tanks), the following may be helpful:

1. Diet .... lessen the consumption of sulfur bearing compounds: Onions, Garlic, egg yolks, red meat and fish, BEANS for a few days before and when you're on the boat.
2. Increase the diameter of the vent line and have that vent line OPEN to atmosphere - OR install another/larger vent line from the top of the tank to the atmosphere.
2a. Consider air-injection into the tank: just a small 12 vdc piston pump that delivers its air to bottom of the tank (to a 'porous stone' to make the air bubbles as small as possible). This will continuously 'sweep' the gases caused by anaerobic fermentation and dilute them significantly. The injected air will change the fermentation from anerobic to aerobic and the stink will be much less. The small amount of continuous forced air simply goes out the vent. This is 'aquarium store' stuff but will need to be modified to 12vdc.; there are 'marine versions' (relatively expensive) of holding tank 'air-sparging' systems.
3. Flush with only 'fresh' water ... do it 'by hand' (shower wand, etc.). DO NOT connect your fresh water supply to the head system!!!
3a. When leaving the boat, always be sure that there is fresh water to visible level in the 'bowl' ... this will seal the head (and boat) from retrograde gas passage from the tank, through the head and into the boat - a gas trap. Also, dont totally pump the bowl dry when using as if there is a faulty valve in the head the gases can easily 'backfill' into the boat FROM the tank. If the partly filled bowl always drops its level, then its time for a head 'rebuild' - to reestablish the 'water seal' between the tank and the head.
4. Clean the tank and its hosing with commercial boiler descaling compounds such as RydLyme™ - inhibited/buffered hydrochloric acid that will remove the 'porous' carbonate build up .... caused by the reaction of urine and seawater. RydLyme is also used for cleaning engines and boat heat exchangers. Apex - RYDLYME Marine is a safe, biodegradable, non-toxic, non-corrosive marine descaler. RYDLYME Marine is designed to dissolve the toughest water scale, lime deposits and rust deposits.
The porosity of the formed carbonate is a 'whopping' stink reservoir ..... if you ONLY flush with fresh water, there will be minimal carbonate build up
5. Alternatively to all the above, Change out the ENTIRE 'head system' to a 'Composting' Head ... but you're going to have to lug/carry/haul out all the 'contents' instead of pumping it.

Last edited by RichH; 11-06-2012 at 12:29 PM.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #20  
Old 11-06-2012
chef2sail's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 6,828
Thanks: 28
Thanked 53 Times in 49 Posts
Rep Power: 7
chef2sail will become famous soon enough
Send a message via AIM to chef2sail
Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

Quote:
I think I am going to replace the holding tank, using this as an excuse to upgrade a little bit in size and to switch to a holding tank design where all hoses enter and exit through the top
.

Why change the system to a top design? That complicates things IMHO. When we replaced our system 4 years ago. I used the black stripe hoses also. Our tank 11/2 outlet is on the bottom, makes it easier to flush out. In order to prevent sewaerage from sitting in the hoses we put a 11/2 brass ball valve as the first exit out of the holding tank, therefore we could keep this valve closed till pump out time, preventing the s..t from laying in the hoses. Has worked like a charm

dave
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
___________________________
S/V Haleakala (Hawaiian for" House of the Sun")
C&C 35 MKIII Hull # 76
Parkville, Maryland
(photos by Joe McCary)
Charter member of the Chesapeake Lion posse

Our blog-
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


“Sailing is just the bottom line, like adding up the score in bridge. My real interest is in the tremendous game of life.”- Dennis Conner
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Convert existing steel freshwater tank to blackwater holding tank? patrickstickler General Discussion (sailing related) 7 09-24-2010 07:55 PM
Fuel tank clean/replace Cal 29 Atomic 4 banty2 Cal 5 08-18-2010 10:18 PM
Best way to clean a holding tank and lines Frozensurfer Gear & Maintenance 4 04-20-2010 10:28 PM
Clogged Exhaust or Mixing Elbow: Clean or Replace? oft Gear & Maintenance 18 07-18-2008 03:55 PM
Dirty Rub Rail: Clean it or Replace it? ChicagoNewport27 Gear & Maintenance 6 04-28-2007 02:11 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:45 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.