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  #1  
Old 11-04-2012
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Clean or replace holding tank?

I've been trying to deal with holding tank stink on our new to us Pearson 28-2. So far I have replaced the head (needed anyway, the original was 28 years old and not working properly) and all of the sanitation lines with Trident 101. I added a water strainer for the flush water. I have also added a second 1.5" diameter vent (4' long, about 10" of rise) to the original 5/8" vent. Finally we rinsed it out 3 times last weekend, wasting 39 gallons of fresh water in the process (it is a 13 gallon tank). There is really nothing else that I can possibly replace in the system except for the holding tank. After the flush with clean water I've been using Raritan KO as my holding tank solution and nothing else.

Yesterday we went sailing and the head was used about 3 or 4 times. Today I went to the boat to do a little work and the sulphur smell was unbearable.

I can see the holding tank and the bottom does have brown stains for the lower about 2" (the pump out hose is at the bottom, so when you pump it out about 1.5" to 2" of liquid will remain). Is it possible that there is enough anaerobic culture there that even with my upgrades that I have a tank that is still anaerobic heavy?

The tank is made by Todd, 24x14x10" in size, and appears to have roughly 1/4" walls.

Any ideas?

I should add that we are on salt water. I always flush a quart or two of fresh water into the tank when we return from sailing though.
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Old 11-04-2012
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Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

When you pump, have them flush the tank (fill with water and repump) until it runs clear. Most GOOD pump out people do this without asking.

There are a lot of additives that help with the smell, most by either covering or killing. You wind up with Rose smelling crap, or hospital smell.

Practical Sailor magazine is a worthy subscription, they have a couple of recent articles that discuss holding tank issues. In short - increase the vent size to at least 1 inch, and add as much ventilation as you can. And always fresh and rinse with fresh.
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Old 11-04-2012
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Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

Did you read my post or just the title? I covered what I've done in detail, including all of those things.

thanks,
alex
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Old 11-04-2012
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Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
I've been trying to deal with holding tank stink on our new to us Pearson 28-2. So far I have replaced the head (needed anyway, the original was 28 years old and not working properly) and all of the sanitation lines with Trident 101. I added a water strainer for the flush water. I have also added a second 1.5" diameter vent (4' long, about 10" of rise) to the original 5/8" vent. Finally we rinsed it out 3 times last weekend, wasting 39 gallons of fresh water in the process (it is a 13 gallon tank). There is really nothing else that I can possibly replace in the system except for the holding tank. After the flush with clean water I've been using Raritan KO as my holding tank solution and nothing else.

Yesterday we went sailing and the head was used about 3 or 4 times. Today I went to the boat to do a little work and the sulphur smell was unbearable.

I can see the holding tank and the bottom does have brown stains for the lower about 2" (the pump out hose is at the bottom, so when you pump it out about 1.5" to 2" of liquid will remain). Is it possible that there is enough anaerobic culture there that even with my upgrades that I have a tank that is still anaerobic heavy?

The tank is made by Todd, 24x14x10" in size, and appears to have roughly 1/4" walls.

Any ideas?

I should add that we are on salt water. I always flush a quart or two of fresh water into the tank when we return from sailing though.
You have gas.

It's possible someone has filled the tank to the point that solids have gotten into the vent or even just stuffed the vent hose barb, now it just won't vent.

The holding tank is a little ecosystem that must be vented out or it will find another way to vent and that way will probably be into the boat. It could also be a discharge pump or some other bit of hardware that is allowing gas into the boat.

Another thing to consider is that lovely low tide stench. You are flushing with sea water and there is sea water left in the toilet and lines when you leave. This seawater is filled with organisms that will die. When you come back to the boat it's low tide and it stinks.

If you don't have gas it could be low tide.

To combat the low tide stench try flushing the toilet ONLY with fresh water for a couple of weeks. I use my hand held shower nozzle to add water to the bowl and flush rather than use the sea water intake. You might be shocked at how good your boat can smell if there is not a bowl and lines filled with tiny dead sea creatures sitting around in the heat for a few days.

YMMV.

Rob
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Last edited by RobGallagher; 11-04-2012 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

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Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
Any ideas?
My Pearson 28-1 had a built-in fiberglass holding tank made by the P.O. Seems to work well.

Maybe you should remove your current tank and build your own in it's place with plywood and fiberglass. At least you will have eliminated another possible cause of the odor.
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Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
Did you read my post or just the title? I covered what I've done in detail, including all of those things.

thanks,
alex
Sorry, actually I did read it, then got distracted and forgot most but just kept hammering at the keyboard thinking you were talking about doing those things.
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Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

From my experience, it is the salt water that is causing the issue. I've gone to having literally a 1 gal milk jug with fresh water that I use ea time the head is used. This helps for the most part.

While the vent could be clogged....ie maybe the original, your new one should have solved the clogged issue IMHO. Being human, been wrong before, will be wrong again!

Marty
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Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

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.
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Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

While you said you changed all the hoses did you replace the old 5/8 vent hose also? Just checking as that is very important.

Gene
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Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Clean or replace holding tank?

Alex--

Based upon your descriptions, I would guess that you have a build-up of sludge in the bottom of the tank that is giving rise to your problem. (A discussion of the matter can be found at Does Your Holding Tank Really Stink? | Boating Articles ). I have found that using an enzyme based holding tank treatment as a routine matter can eliminate the problem once you've gotten the tank cleaned out. We have found that Nature-Zyme seems to be effective. Further, to help control odor during the cleaning process (which may take week or more and repeated flushes with an enzyme approach) and later, we have found activated charcoal to be quite effective. We obtain the material at Aquarium supply stores and make pouches to hold it out of old nylon stockings. These can be draped around the hoses and tucked into corners around the tank and will absorb odors quite effectively. I replace these annually during our "spring cleaning" and have found them to be very effective. We have no "boat odors" at all.

Good luck!
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