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Old 25-01-2009, 09:53   #1
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Enzymes and Holding Tanks

Has anyone ever added enzymes to their holding tank? If so is there any reason to believe it would interfere with maintaining an aerobic bacteria environment?

Ecos corp has a product Earth Enzymes that lists containing Sodium Sesquicarbonate, Bacterial mizxures and Proteolytic Enzyme.
It also states that it is biodegradable, phosphate-free, non caustic/toxic and is formulated to 'safely digest ...human wastes without generating heat or malodors' and can be 'safely used in septic tanks'.
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Old 25-01-2009, 10:40   #2
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Hi Jim. I would add an aerobic bacteria "booster" first. First off, hows your holding tank vent system? Are you familiar with Peggy Hall?
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Old 27-01-2009, 06:44   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply. I'm working on the vent system. It has issues in terms of long distance to transom, previous clogging (now corrected) and most likely could use a larger i.d. in the hose. I came across some of Peggy Hall during a search this last weekend. I'm completely new to many systems as prior to this I've exclusively voyaged on my Flicka 20 with the handheld VHS and GPS units being the only 'systems' on board besides my windvane. I'm also researching the composting heads as a potential for freeing up space for a watermaker but until then I'm wanting to maximize efficiency of my Levac/holding tank system. Is there a particular brand of enzymes? I didn't come across any mention yet. Thanks- Deb
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Old 27-01-2009, 08:55   #4
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I'll do some research and post tonight... C
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Old 27-01-2009, 09:05   #5
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If you have a Lavac toilet, those are reported to be the best most bullet proof one's out there. A seperate Mark V pump that almost never clogs. I looked into changing the one's I have on our cat and decided after research to leave well enough alone.

Just get your vent sorted out and pump it out regularly. Be certain there are no leaks anywhere. I found a source of our problems were the previous owners/operators had installed bilge pumps inadvertently screwing holes into the top of the holding tank. Whenever the tank was full I got stinky water into the bilge sump, and otherwise those were the venting into my bilge below the floorboards. I found 10 different holes from all the previous bilge pump installs/replacements. We had a mold problem on the boat that has gone away now too, since the stinky dampness is gone.
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Old 28-01-2009, 01:14   #6
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I will post my "enzyme" story later today

Let's just say it is explosive.
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Old 28-01-2009, 03:51   #7
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Peggy Hall, aka The Head Mistress.
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Old 28-01-2009, 12:12   #8
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I would think it would depend alot on how often you pump out.
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Old 28-01-2009, 17:33   #9
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Hi Jim and Deb! Here's the 411... The Bio-Active aerobic additive is Raritan's K.O. : Raritan Engineering | Cleaning and Maintenance Products/K.O. Kills Odors

Now, as far as tank vents go...you have to try and flow as much air as possible into the tank. Peggy Hall recommends atleast a 3/4" vent line, pref 1". NOW HERES THE CATCH; the anerobic bacteria want to win this battle, and bacteria produce Co2. Co2 is slightly heavier than air, and it want to blanket the top of the waste in the tank, blocking out O2. You have to flow fresh air into the tank, and I doubt a vent in the stern is gonna do it. If its anything like a car, a boat facing the wind will probably draw a vacuum at the stern. I think the best solution would be to add a second vent line facing forward, possibly a thru hull above the deck with a small scoop facing forward. This would pressurize the tank slightly, while working with the stern vent to cross ventilate. Also, your lines shouldn't angle up more than 45 Deg on their way out. I hope you can follow my horrible description, and this was some help...Chris
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Old 28-01-2009, 18:04   #10
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actually, a better way...

...is to pump a small amount of air into the bottom of the holding tank itself, using something along the lines of an aquarium diaphragm pump. I believe that Raritan makes such a device for use on boats.

I have been using enzymes exclusively since 1998, and consider it the best way to go. It's difficult when you first switch over, I understand, especially if you've used a formaldehyde additive. First you've got to purge the tank of whatever kills the good (aerobic) bacteria.
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Old 28-01-2009, 18:31   #11
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Bash, we're gonna have to agree to disagree. I dont think adding another pump aboard my boat is that great of an idea as opposed to a passive system. Do you have one? Also, although I'm no expert, Enzymes and aerobic bacteria are completely different creatures, and I believe Peggy Hall recommends against them... Look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enzymes
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