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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Stench from Fresh Water Holding Tank
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Thread: Stench from Fresh Water Holding Tank Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-14-2009 11:42 PM
superiorvoyager I had this onece and found that heading out for a good sail in rough water after adding the bleach worked best. Gets it everywhere.
11-14-2009 03:13 PM
scottyt last thing if your boat is in the water when you do the bleach fill take it out for a short sail, this will splash and get the bleach every where.
11-14-2009 02:50 PM
countrygent5201 Thanks, folks. My plan is to replace the lines (they're 23 years old anyway), then shock with a couple cups of chlorine, making sure to fill the tank completely and running both faucets long enough to get the bleach solution throughout the entire system. Let this sit overnight, then flush the system with fresh water. If still stinky, repeat. I'm sure my problem came from lack of use. I won't make that mistake again. It had never occurred to me that water in the dock lines could be contaminated, but it makes sense. I'll give the boat a good rinse-down to make sure the dock lines are carrying clean water. Ain't the Internet great?
11-14-2009 02:07 PM
mitchbrown
RO machine can make water smell like sulfure

If you have a Watermaker on the boat and they pickled the thing and then didn't flush it well enough before putting the product water back to running into the tank the chemicls will make the water smell like sulfure. The solution is to just flush the thing out really good and I would apply bleach and then flush again after 24 hours and then use it.

Mitch
11-14-2009 02:06 PM
wookie yea bleach works put plenty in leave 24hrs, drain through all taps, refill fresh water should work
11-14-2009 01:59 PM
Faster Just an additional comment, when you shock or bleach your tanks you should be sure to completely fill them each time to ensure you're getting the bleach/peroxide to all the inner tank surfaces.
11-14-2009 01:39 PM
scottyt gent you should go to a pool supply or a wood working place and get the peroxide there. it will be stronger, so you need less, but make sure to dilute it in some water before dumping it in.

if you use anything you will need to remove any screens in faucets as they will clog as the slime come outs. what i would do is shock it with bleach, a couple of cups, and run the faucets till you smell the bleach. let it sit over night, then drain completely. then repeat, the same then a couple of flushes to clear it out. once you do this open the inspection port if you have one, the bleach smell will go away in a day or so with the port open
11-14-2009 11:55 AM
countrygent5201 Roline, how much peroxide should I use? This sounds like the best route if it doesn't leave its own stench. Would a quart per 25 gallons of water do the job?
11-14-2009 11:47 AM
sailingdog First off, I would highly recommend opening the tank's and pressure spraying the interior if at all possible, then I would replace the hoses and finish by shock treating the whole system per Peggie Hall's directions.

Bleaching or treating the lines won't work very well, since the lines probably have a bioslime coating, where the bleach only affects the outermost layer of it, and doesn't kill all of the bacteria/mold living in it.

I don't recommend adding chlorine bleach to the fresh water system as a matter of normal use, but shock treating it once a season is a good idea.
11-14-2009 09:07 AM
roline Ah yes the old Hydrogen sulfide from bacteria. I had a touch of it and couldn't figure out why. I had removed the poly tank and bleached it, replaced the lines and after a season started to have it again. I realized that the tap water that I was adding was from the kitchen sink has a carbon filter that absorbes all of the clorine in the water. SO there was a lack of treatment for bacteria. Bleach (hypochlorite) works well. Another treatment that can be used is Hydrogen peroxide, but do not mix the two!
Hydrogen peroxide sanitizes without the bleach stench but is more expensive to use. Once under control, sanitize at least once a year.
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