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Old 28-03-2009, 17:11   #1
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contaminated water tanks

Spring has finally sprung here in New England time to get the boat ready for upcoming season. I thought I would open up the inspection hatches on the water tanks and see of they needed cleaning. Well to my horror as soon as I opened up the first tank I was hit with a strong smell of diesel. I have no idea how diesel could get into the tank but I do know the po wasn't the brightest bulb.Anyway the tanks are made of stainless steel andand they also have two baffells and I can only reach in far enough to clean the center portion. So far I have filled the tank with fresh water trying to flush it out. Does anyone have any idears how to clean out the tank, is there anything I can pour into the tank that will remove the oil? Or should I just keep filling and pumping the tank out. The tank has about 85 gal capacity.

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Old 28-03-2009, 18:37   #2
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I would try something that is a soluble in both water and petroleum. Alcohol comes to mind. I think the Diesel residue will stay in there forever if you use something that is only soluble in water. Its going to take multiple flushings and multiple days to do this. I would go ahead and replace all the rubber or plastic hoses after doing the flushings.
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Old 28-03-2009, 19:50   #3
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Nasty.

My first thought was biodegradable bilge cleaner (aren't they all these days), or simple green t break it down, followed by a lot of flushing. Just a thought.
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Old 28-03-2009, 20:32   #4
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You'll need a detergent to break down the oil. Biodegradable or not it won't make much difference. Oil floats on the surface of pure water and you can never get it out by just flushing. It takes a minute amount to leave the taste of oil. It is possible that they got the deck fills screwed up. It happens more often than you think. Water in the fuel tank is actually a lot easier to deal with since the water sinks.

If you can get it down to screwed up filling with the deck fills as the cause you might salvage the system. Don't forget the deck fill tube too. You really don't want to be pumping it through the water system so you'll need a second pump to pump the water from the tank directly. Circulating the contaminated water would trash the whole plumbing system. Many of the plastic tubing type won't handle oil well at all. Drain the tank as best you can and start washing it it out. By using smaller amounts of water and detergent you can dilute the oil quicker. If it has got into the hot water tank and the rest of the plumbing this isn't an easy job. If you can smell it you know it's not done. Oil does adhere to anything it touches.
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Old 28-03-2009, 21:35   #5
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I have WD40 in my freshwater tanks and came up with a nifty way of setting up automated recurring flushing of the water tank. It's designed for when the boat is on the hard. I posted it here: Anything Sailing Forums - View Single Post - Yikes! WD-40 in fresh water tank

Using this method, you could put a ton of soapy water in the fresh water tank, let it sit for a few days and then automatically cycle it through many rinses.

I haven't tested this method yet. There's a storm drain near our boat that I may use to give the discharge hose even more vertical drop, making for an even stronger siphon.
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Old 28-03-2009, 21:50   #6
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captden, I'm afraid you are going to have to scrub the whole tank, which means adding inspection ports. I doubt you will get it all out without scrubbing. Once you get it cleaned out take a sample from the farthest part of the fresh water system and have it checked in a lab. Probably need new fill hose and vent hose as well.
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Old 28-03-2009, 23:02   #7
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Wy would you want to put the dirty water wit WD40 in to the storm drain? Here it goes straing in t the ocean.
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Old 29-03-2009, 19:34   #8
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Wy would you want to put the dirty water wit WD40 in to the storm drain? Here it goes straing in t the ocean.
It's a few sprays worth, enough that you could definitely drink the water tank as is (maybe even drink that much at full strength and not get sick). But it will still make a nasty taste in the water tank.

I count myself at the other end of that scale -- I actually brought home some paint chips because I'm not sure of the right way to dispose of them.
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Old 29-03-2009, 19:56   #9
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Bene505
Wy would you want to put the dirty water wit WD40 in to the storm drain? Here it goes straing in t the ocean.

Probably because WD-40 is completely non-toxic. You can drink it if you want but it wont hurt you besides making you puke from the taste. It was designed without any toxic components at all.

As for cleaning a contaminated tank, It used to be common practice to steam clean tanks. I don't even know if the technology still exists. High pressure steam generators and a hose. Sort of like pressure washing with steam instead of the water. It might be possible to find something on line but I've not looked.



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Old 29-03-2009, 20:16   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captden View Post
Spring has finally sprung here in New England time to get the boat ready for upcoming season. I thought I would open up the inspection hatches on the water tanks and see of they needed cleaning. Well to my horror as soon as I opened up the first tank I was hit with a strong smell of diesel. I have no idea how diesel could get into the tank but I do know the po wasn't the brightest bulb.Anyway the tanks are made of stainless steel andand they also have two baffells and I can only reach in far enough to clean the center portion. So far I have filled the tank with fresh water trying to flush it out. Does anyone have any idears how to clean out the tank, is there anything I can pour into the tank that will remove the oil? Or should I just keep filling and pumping the tank out. The tank has about 85 gal capacity.

Captden
I might be wrong but it sounds like you just aquired this boat from the previous owner,"I have no idea how diesel could get into the tank but I do know the po wasn't the brightest bulb." If this is the case are you sure the PO didn't convert the water tank to a fuel tank?
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Old 30-03-2009, 03:38   #11
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Diesel Contamination

I havent tried this but read it in a recent issue of SAIL mag. It came from a reader. "Wiope down the areas affected by the fuel with Liquid Calgon Fabric Softener. I havent had the need to try this and hope I dont have to...Couldn't hurt!!! Bob
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Old 30-03-2009, 04:45   #12
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Probably because WD-40 is completely non-toxic. You can drink it if you want but it wont hurt you besides making you puke from the taste. It was designed without any toxic components at all...
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WD-40 IS TOXIC !!!

Excerpted from the MSDS:

Emergency Overview:
DANGER! Flammable aerosol. Contents under pressure. Harmful of fatal if swallowed. If swallowed, may be aspirated and cause lung damage. Avoid eye contact. Use with adequate ventilation. Keep away from heat, sparks and all other sources of ignition.

Symptoms of Overexposure:

Inhalation: High concentrations may cause nasal and respiratory irritation and central nervous system effects such as headache, dizziness and nausea. Intentional abuse may be harmful or fatal.

Skin Contact: Prolonged and/or repeated contact may produce mild irritation and defatting with possible dermatitis.

Eye Contact: Contact may be mildly irritating to eyes. May cause redness and tearing.

Ingestion: This product has low oral toxicity. Swallowing may cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This product is an aspiration hazard. If swallowed, can enter the lungs and may cause chemical pneumonitis, severe lung damage and death.

Chronic Effects: None expected.

Medical Conditions Aggravated by Exposure: Preexisting eye, skin and respiratory conditions may be aggravated by exposure.

Goto:
http://www.wd40company.com/files/pdf...d494716385.pdf
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Old 30-03-2009, 10:20   #13
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OK, no drinking WD40. Thanks for that post GordMay.
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Old 30-03-2009, 14:39   #14
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also, dont lick your engine
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Old 30-03-2009, 15:09   #15
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Thanks for all the replys. I've been doing some research and found a couple of things that may help. First simple green makes a concetrate that they claim will release the oily resdue off the tank and the emzines in the product will change it to non toxic matter. So I will try to wash down the tank as far as I can reach, then get out the high pressure washer and spray down the tank with this mixture. I haven't recieved a reply from them and don't know how long it takes for this to happen. Any ideas?
I also found another product that's called Oil Eradicator which I can leave in the tank fill with water and let it do it's thing. It's made by clean water solutions if you want to check out their web site.

Paul your right I have seen this happen many times, sombody fill their water tanks with fuel, all I can say is maybe when the boatyard topped off my fuel tanks last fall sombody got confused, but there really wasn't that much fuel in the tank and I already emptied the water tanks before I brought the boat to the yard to be hauled. I'm hopeing fuel didn't get into the plumbing as I did have the valves closed and already winterized the boat. Time will tell. After I get through this mess of getting the tank cleaned I will look further into how this could of happened before I run any water through the boat.

Again thanks for all the replys and suggestions I'll keep you posted on my results

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