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Old 10-08-2019, 13:24   #1
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1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

New here, I checked many threads but could not find an answer to this. Hopefully someone can help! When I pumped out my holding tank, all the fresh water from my 17 gallon starboard side tank sucked out first. How do I stop this from happening in the future? Thanks for any help.
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Old 10-08-2019, 13:36   #2
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

That is very weird and potentially dangerous. If you connected correctly to the pumpout fitting on the boat AND sucked out water from you freshwater tank then that indicates a connection somewhere between the sewage and your drinking water, not good.


Is the toilet fresh water flush or use water from outside; ocean, lake, whatever? If flushing with fresh water from the tanks that could be the source of the problem but I believe safety mandates no direct connection between drinking water and the toilet.
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Old 10-08-2019, 13:53   #3
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

Thanks, Skip, and yes, I agree. I just bought the boat. I started pumping and saw some brown, then right away clear water for about 3 minutes. I was totally baffled. I went to the head and reopened some seacocks/Y valves etc. and heard a clunk like a vacuum relief of some kind. Then I went back on deck and the holding tank then pumped out fine. I thought I was sucking up seawater first by leaving the valve open but how could the clear seawater bypass the full tank? A few days later my wife and I discovered the watertank completely empty, and I connected the dots. Obviously they are plumbed together, but did the PO do this or was if factory?? I saw some instructions for a 1981 Catalina head system and they listed 3 options flush options, freshwater, seawater, or dry pump, so if that were accurate, then it came that way from Catalina. Again, why or how could they have legally done that? So, at this point I just want to find out how to prevent the tanks from emptying when I pump out. The 2 tanks are plumbed together, luckily my bow tank was empty or that would have pumped out too. Very weird.....!
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Old 10-08-2019, 14:39   #4
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

I saw some instructions for a 1981 Catalina head system and they listed 3 options flush options, freshwater, seawater, or dry pump, so if that were accurate, then it came that way from Catalina. Again, why or how could they have legally done that?

IF those instructions were in any Catalina literature, they only referred to the types of available toilets, NOT flushing options for any toilet that was in existence in 1984.

I agree with Skipmac...a PO completely fouled up the toilet and holding tank installation and plumbing. Let's start with the toilet. It's unlikely that it's still original...What make/model is it? If you don't know, post a photo of it...showing the PUMP not the bowl (all bowls look alike)...from above if it's a manual toilet, from the side of the "works" below the bowl if it's electric.

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Old 10-08-2019, 15:50   #5
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

It is a Jabsco Manual Marine Compact Toilet.
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Old 10-08-2019, 15:52   #6
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

nodel #29090-5000
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Old 10-08-2019, 18:18   #7
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by alucas100 View Post
It is a Jabsco Manual Marine Compact Toilet.
I suspected that's what it is...and the 5000 is the latest version, so it's pretty new. It's a sea water toilet that should never be connected to the boat's fresh water system. This is the "owners manual" which includes installation instructions Jabsco 29090 Manual Twist & Lock owners manual

Trace the inlet line from the toilet to wherever it goes...hopefully to a thru-hull, NOT the fresh water tank or any fresh water plumbing. Also trace the toilet discharge line, which hopefully only goes to a fitting at--or on--the top of the holding tank. If they check out ok, I have an idea what the problem may be. But let's start with that much to find out if we can eliminate anything.

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Old 10-08-2019, 19:24   #8
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

Thanks Peggie, I am going to my boat tomorrow and will trace those lines. We are not drinking the water from our tanks. But I want to be able to. Many have said a fresh water flush makes the head smell less but I am not so sure. I am wondering if I could leave the starboard tank plumbed into the system for freshwater flush, and leave the 20 gallon tank in the bow for drinking water only. I will get back to you as I know you are the authority on plumbing.
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Old 10-08-2019, 19:30   #9
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

What I do know is that the inlet line is sea water with a seacock. But yesterday I closed it and pumped the head and freshwater was coming in instead. So I have to find out where that other inlet line is. The discharge can go to a holding tank or directly overboard (Y-valve) via a through hull also with a gate or ball valve I dont know which.
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:36   #10
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

The fresh water line to the toilet will most likely come off the cold water line to the head sink. The sea water water inlet line should be connected to the inlet fitting on the PUMP....a line off the top of the pump goes to the inlet fitting on the back of the bowl. It wouldn't surprise me if you find that the fresh water line is connected directly to inlet fitting on the back of the bowl 'cuz no pump is needed for pressurized flush water, just a valve to open and close the connection. If the PO flushed only with fresh water (inlet seacock kept closed), there may not be a line from the pump to the bowl. If he used both, there'll be a tee in that line.



It occurred to me last night that a blocked holding tank vent may be the reason why pumping out the tank drained the fresh water tank...the pumpout couldn't pull in any air through the vent to replace contents as they're sucked out, so pulled air--or in this case water--from wherever it could, which could be the water tank. Flushing a toilet against a blocked vent will pressurized the tank so don't try to use the toilet again till you're sure the vent is clear.


The two most common locations for a vent blockage are the vent thru-hull and the other end of the vent line--that end of the hose and the vent fitting on the tank. Start by cleaning out the thru-hull...use a screwdriver blade, ice pick--whatever works. If that doesn't result in a spew out the vent, you'll need to relieve the pressure before removing the vent line from the tank to clean them out...so open the deck pumpout fitting VERY CAREFULLY with a hose at the ready. Be sure you're UPwind of it! Scrape out that end of the vent line and the vent fitting on the tank...reconnect the vent line to the tank.



Once we've solved all the immediate problems, this would be a good time to replace the "vent" thru-hull with an open bulkhead or "mushroom" thru-hull that'll let you put a hose against it to back flush the vent line every time you wash the boat and/or pump out...preventing any more blocked vents.


And btw...if the seacock on the inlet thru-hull is a gate valve, it should be replaced with a ball valve.



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Old 11-08-2019, 06:49   #11
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

Thanks Peggie, we are heading to the mooring and I will check the vent at the tank and for a possible block at the stanchion vent too. I know there is a tee in the seawater line at the thruhull. I am bringing my camera too.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:51   #12
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

That is very weird. Even if the toilet is being flushed with fresh water you should not be able to suck the water through the toilet and through the holding tank. Are you sure that you are pumping out from the right deck fitting? Could you be pumping out from the fresh water deck fill? Are your deck fittings clearly labeled?
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:37   #13
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

If memory is correct, the holding tank vents into a Stanchion. I had a Catalina 34, 80s vintage, and when the holding tank over filled, black water ran out from a hole in a midship stanchion.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:44   #14
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

That was going to be my question! Is he sure he's not pumping from the fresh water fill?
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Old 11-08-2019, 13:41   #15
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Re: 1984 Catalina 30 Pumpout Question

Unless I totally misread his second post, he said both the water tank AND the holding tank got pumped out. And he said (see post #7)that although the toilet intake line is plumbed to a thru-hull, FRESH water entered bowl when he flushed the toilet...indicating that the toilet is also connected to the fresh water system.

I forgot that Catalina vented (still does on some smaller boats) waste tanks through a stanchion with little holes in it. That makes a blocked tank vent even more likely. And if fresh water comes into the toilet, it's entirely possible that pumpout suction--especially if it's strong pumpout--could be pulling it out of the water tank through the toilet along with waste from the holding tank as it tries to find a source of air.

I've run into a lot of toilets that were hissing during pumpout due to a blocked vent, but this is new one for me...it's just the only thing that makes sense to me based on what he's told us. So if any of you have a better idea, please share it!


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