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Old 07-05-2011, 18:39   #16
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

The only thing that could be considered a downside is, the flush water reservoir has be filled manually with a pitcher or a bucket. And, it's just not very "nautical"...more than offset IMO by the fact they require -0- maintenance except for the tank...which, because it's vented like a holding tank, can be kept odor-free with the right holding tank product.

People think that because a portapotty only holds 5-6 gallons, it's capacity is only a few flushes. It can hold so many because it only needs enough water to rinse the bowl--only a pint compared to an average 1/2 gal for any manual toilet.

Thetford isn't the only one who makes MSD portapotties...and the 365 isn't the only one they make. They even make an "electric" version that runs on AA or C cells, I forget which. SeaLand/Dometic has the MSD Sanipotti...and I think there are some European brands too.

They aren't the answer for every boat...You can't bypass it to flush directly overboard at sea, so I wouldn't recommend it as the only toilet for a cruiser. And I don't think it's necessarily appropriate for larger boats. But it can be great solution for small boats with limited storage space and the type of 2nd head use we're talking about here.
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Old 07-05-2011, 18:41   #17
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

Thanks for that warning about he fountain effect, that's news to me.

Thing is, I read the Thetford 365 porta potty does allow pump out. That is new information for me. Or it can be removed and emptied.

So if it has 5 gallons of fresh water, a 6 gallon waste tank, lasts 50 flushes, and can be pumped, that beats my standard holding setup tremendously. No seawater flush, doesn't use freshwater from the regular water tanks, lasts more than three times longer than my 13 gallon holding tank before pump out. All self contained, not spread out from the head to the bow with hoses everywhere.

And it only costs $165.
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Old 07-05-2011, 18:46   #18
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

Thanks Peggie, I see I should have used the term "MSD porta pottie".

Could there be a way to configure for a pump out at sea option? I haven't done that yet with my setup, but like having the option. I realize it would add complexity and hoses if it is possible, and I could live without it, I think, since I'm coastal cruising.
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Old 07-05-2011, 18:46   #19
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

SeaLand/Dometic makes the type of self-contained system you describe... SeaLand Traveler at Defender If your head is large enough for the 20 x 20 tank footprint, you can have the coolest "portapotty" in town!
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Old 07-05-2011, 18:56   #20
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

I think you're missing something, Paul...the "MSD" portapotties do have a pumpout line and a vent--which means they can be maintained aerobically...so nothing to carry off the boat. Which is good--'cuz a 2-3 gallon portapotty doesn't hold enough flushes to last a family through a weekend...a full 5-6 gallon tank weighs about 50 lbs. And the pumpable versions aren't any bigger than the portable versions. Yes, you DO have to maintain the vent to keep it open (backflush it every time you wash the boat) or the tank will become pressurized, or worse yet a pumpout could implode the tank, but that's the ONLY maintenance required. And the only way to avoid doing at least that much maintenance is to install a treatment device instead of a tank.
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Old 07-05-2011, 19:03   #21
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

Yes, that has all the functions of a standard setup.

And I think I'm correct to believe the nine gallon tank would last much longer than my 13 gallon tank because of the proximity to the bowl. And the flushing would be described the same as with the Thetford port pottie, that is, using very little water compared to pumping all the way to a standard holding tank.

Thanks for your input, I've learned some things that will help me decide what to do when I get tired of my current setup. (filling up so quickly)
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Old 07-05-2011, 19:08   #22
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

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And the only way to avoid doing at least that much maintenance is to install a treatment device instead of a tank.
Good point Peggy. I suppose if you didn't drink beer it could really work well. Hauling a little bit more often may seem bad at the time but the other side isn't pretty.
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Old 07-05-2011, 21:24   #23
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

Paul, how does one empty out the solids from a "composting" toilet, without carrying live sewage ashore (dinghy or launch) and risking some spillage on the way? And how can you legally dispose of it once ashore, consideirng it is still live sewage, it isn't "compost" unless it has aged for a couple of months with no fresh contributions.

I can't see that carrying a bucket of live sewage is any better than hooking up a honeyhose, but maybe I'm missing the details.
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Old 07-05-2011, 23:03   #24
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

What most people call "composting toilets" are actually dessicators. What's the difference?

A composter is a bio-active system...liquids and solids, along with some bacteria and some moisture absorbing material--typically peat moss--all go into a pile or a drum where they're tossed and aerated and kept warm enough keep the bioactivity going. The liquids that exceed the amount that can evaporate drain away...and eventually you end up with something very like the bagged manure you can buy at garden supply stores...Sanitary "dirt" than can be legally carried ashore in a garbage bag or bucket or any other container and spread on your petunias, but--because it's human waste, not sheep or steer manure--not on your tomatoes.

A dessicator, otoh, is simply a dehydrator. Urine is captured separately from solid waste in jugs or a tank...a fan and a heater dry out the solids, turning them into a something resembling very dry dirt.

Neither is actually live sewage. A bit like dealing with top soil. And the big appeal of the AirHead and Nature's Head and other "composters" that are actually dessicators is that, because there's no urine or flush water mixed with the solid waste and peat moss, it takes months for the "compost" box to fill up...so actually it DOES "age" for at least a couple of months.

Urine is captured in jugs that can only be LEGALLY emptied ashore or over the side outside the 3 mile limit...but nobody EVER carries 'em ashore...they pour 'em over the side because "urine is sterile, so it doesn't matter." But it's still illegal...If the water cops ever started noticing all that urine going over the side it would end a lot of the appeal of these toilets, because--as you noted--there's not much advantage to carrying jugs of urine ashore over carrying a portapotty ashore. And actually it DOES matter because urine has a very high BOD, which is the argument against treatment that these very same people use against treatment devices.

I have no idea what they're doing with the "compost"...I'm afraid to ask.
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:16   #25
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

My second head is a bucket

For the environmentalists I provide free paper bags (or plastic bags at 5p each ) so they can stow the poop in there luggage for later disposal ashore in a manner that suits there personal belief system.

To be fair, I don't get a lot of visitors................
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:01   #26
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

Peg-
Dessicator. Interesting, appropriate, first time I've heard them called that.

As to the solids not being live sewage because they've aged for a while? If the head has been used a week ago, then whatever comes out of it, contains week old sewage. Mixed in with, and contaminating, the alleged compost. That's my only complaint about those heads: It isn't compost, because it isn't aged, because it is contaminated every time it is used. Of course if you had two of them and switched from one to the other every couple or three months to let it age...<G>...
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:42   #27
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
My second head is a bucket
For the environmentalists I provide free paper bags (or plastic bags at 5p each ) so they can stow the poop in there luggage for later disposal ashore in a manner that suits there personal belief system.

To be fair, I don't get a lot of visitors................
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:37   #28
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

As the OP, I'd like to thank everyone for their input (maybe except the poster with the bucket fetish). Pete7 thanks for the info on Europe as it confirms what I had read elsewhere. Paul, great idea about the full shower but our Centurion 42 has a pretty generous aft head with a 40 g. holding tank and an adequate shower. Our friends are all Canadian or European or ex-military so are pretty low maintenance as a group so no worries there.

We are putting a Raritan Sea Era in the aft head with the volume control and the SeaFresh system. The tech support at Raritan has been exceptional especially Jerry Amari who helped us put together the diagrams to make this work in a racer/cruiser. The attachments at the base will also work with a manual pump so we've decided to carry the base and pump (but not the bowl) of a manual toilet as spare in case (or should I say for when) the whole thing acts up.

Peg, as always wonderful info and I'm composing an email to send to you later. Good idea about the porta- potty but unfortunately to get one in there I would still have to modify the original liner. We already have a dedicated wet locker and when we have excess wet gear we hang it in the shower in the aft head.
Goes against the grain to back down from a reno challenge but we've decided that for now we don't really need a second head in a 42 foot boat. So.... my husband is disappointed not to get his own bathroom but has agreed to try the space out as pantry/ships stores/bar storage especially as our 18 year old son will be crewing for us the first year - and yes, we like him that much but as everyone knows teenagers will eat you out of boat and home! I do my own carpentry so that will keep the cost down. One other curious thing, everyone who responded seemed to assume I was male!
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:12   #29
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

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for now we don't really need a second head in a 42 foot boat. So.... my husband is disappointed not to get his own bathroom but has agreed to try the space out as pantry/ships stores/bar storage
I think you will glad you did. You just need to balance the load so you sit in the water properly. On a relative scale it's a nice big storage area on a boat. Using it for the bulky items would probably balance things out better. I would estimate you'll pack it solid. You may want to set up an inventory system so you can keep track of where stuff is.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:08   #30
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Re: Cost of Holding Tank Retrofit

Agreed Paul. Balance is a bit of an issue and putting the stores on the port side will actually help as the water tanks and the holding tank (added only 10 years or so ago by previous owner) as well as the sail locker are all on the starboard side. Thanks for reminding me about the inventory!
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