Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 18-06-2018, 09:28   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Edmonds, WA
Boat: Catalina 42
Posts: 14
Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Hi all,

Unfortunately we've allowed our fresh water system to become completely gunked up. We don't drink from our tanks, but I'd like to be able to use the water to wash with when we're out cruising. We have plastic tanks, 25 gal and 18 gal, and they are pretty inaccessible without dismantling major parts of our cabin which rules out scrubbing them out. Our next thought was to flush the system with bleach solution and I've been reading about procedures for doing that - however, if we fill our tanks with bleach solution, how do we drain it out? all of our sinks drain directly into the ocean. I am concerned about the environmental impact of discharging bleach solution, since even a small amount is harmful to marine life. Plus, it's against the rules in our marina. Do folks wait until they are hauled out and then discharge into a bucket? flush into gray water holding tanks and then pump out? Or discharge directly overboard?

I know about sanitizing alternatives but have the same environmental concerns about some of those. My previous "environmentally friendly" solution - white vinegar - didn't do the trick and stuff is still growing. I feel like I must be missing something and there must be a way to do this, but I just can't think of what it is! Any advice is much appreciated

Thank you!!
__________________

Salish Sloop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2018, 10:13   #2
Registered User
 
svHyLyte's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Tampa Bay area, USA
Boat: Beneteau First 42
Posts: 3,883
Images: 25
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Try Trac Ecological's PSR. Non-toxic and works well.
__________________

__________________
"It is not so much for its beauty that the Sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
svHyLyte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2018, 10:21   #3
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 26,832
Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Bleach if not used in excessively strong concentrations is not all that bad really, there is bleach (chlorine) in your municipal water system, and swimming pools of course.
Donít go overboard with the bleach, it only takes a little bit.
Why are you not drinking out of your water tanks? What are you going to drink from?
a64pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2018, 10:36   #4
Marine Service Provider
 
peghall's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,069
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Chlorine/bleach does no harm to the environment because it evaporates very quickly...as any swimming pool owner will confirm.

Over the years I've posted instructions several times for recommissioning a fresh water system (they're also included in my books). If you can't find 'em, send me an email or a PM that includes your email address (no way to attach anything to a PM) and I'll send 'em to you.

--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
__________________
© 2019 Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since '87.
Author "The NEW Get Rid of Boat Odors"
peghall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2018, 10:47   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Edmonds, WA
Boat: Catalina 42
Posts: 14
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Thanks for the advice and resources! Yes, I've read conflicting things about bleach. Some folks have said it's not all that harmful and breaks down/off gases quickly. Other resources say even tiny concentrations are destructive to marine life. I would be inclined to do it just this once, but want to make sure I've exhausted all other available options.

We don't drink from our water tanks because we don't liveaboard and don't cruise for more than a week or so at a time, so we just bring along a 2.5gal refillable container for our drinking water. I don't think I would want to drink from the tanks without being able to even see, much less clean them out first. But I would love to have water without visible clumps of algae in it at the very least
Salish Sloop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2018, 08:24   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Gulf Coast of FL
Boat: Pearson
Posts: 317
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

I wouldnt worry about bleach in limited doses, but I then flush with rubbing alcohol for a final clean out, about a pint to 20 gal. of water, and pump it through my hoses. Too much bleach in your bilge can wipe out your bilge pump.
__________________
Ken Z
Ken Z is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2018, 08:25   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

I am the business of removing mildew from sails and canvas and we use a fair amount of Sodium Hypochlorite known as bleach.
We reuse the solutions for a long time but when discharging we simply add a small amount of Sodium Bisulfite, which completely neutralizes the "bleach".
It is the same principle used in fresh water aquariums when changing the water and it is obtainable from most pet stores.
cptandy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2018, 10:17   #8
Registered User
 
flyingfin's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Cape Haze,FL
Boat: Carver,Cobia,Nacra, Columbia
Posts: 420
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Yes, chlorine residual in water can kill marine life. However, the concentration of chlorine is critical and whether or not it is fresh or salt water. But you dont need to create a lot of wastewater. Suggest you drain tank, fill with 5 gallons of fresh water, super-chlorinate with one quart of household bleach, then go out in rough water and get it sloshed around and all debris in suspension. Remove sink drain pipe and empty it into a few 5 gallon buckets so you can inspect the water quality and carry the buckets ashore where you can empty it into toilet.
flyingfin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2018, 10:31   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 21,652
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Wouldn't worry too much about it. The bleach is very diluted by the time it reaches the water around your boat.
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2018, 11:11   #10
Marine Service Provider
 
Snore's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Boat: Tartan 33 and OPB
Posts: 2,500
Send a message via Skype™ to Snore
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

First if you are using CL whatever you are cleaning will eat up most of the CL.

For the truly OCD the industry standard way of avoiding impact is some sodium thiosulfate.
__________________
"Whenever...it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea..." Ismael -a link to my delivery website is in my profileó
Snore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2018, 12:14   #11
Registered User
 
Cadence's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SC
Boat: None,build the one shown of glass, had many from 6' to 48'.
Posts: 7,877
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Pump it overboard and don't worry about it.
Cadence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2018, 17:49   #12
Registered User
 
jkindredpdx's Avatar

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Portland, OR, USA
Boat: Hallberg Rassy 35'
Posts: 1,195
Images: 5
Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Just to be safe I splash some whisky in my glass of drinking water.
__________________
http://www.sednahr35.blogspot.com/ Jim K.
jkindredpdx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2018, 18:02   #13
Registered User
 
Dsanduril's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Petersburg, AK
Boat: Outremer 50S
Posts: 2,013
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

You could also buy a $10, 10-inch carbon filter, pump out through the carbon filter, you'll be discharging bleach free water until the carbon filter loads up but should be able to get one cleaning session completed. Drop the used filter in the local solid waste disposal system.

If you discharge without removal if there is any remaining free chlorine (and there should be, otherwise you haven't completed the disinfection of your tanks) then you will kill some of the small organisms in the saltwater at your point of discharge. That is the point of the bleach after all, killing the small organisms. The action of bleach as a disinfectant is a chemical oxidation, so the bleach is used up in the killing action. There is no long term residual effect, once the bleach is used it becomes inert. But, you will create a small 'dead pool' of bacteria/algae/etc. at your point of discharge. You decide how critical that is to you.
Dsanduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2018, 08:12   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Galena, MD
Boat: Hunter Vision 32
Posts: 95
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Try Trac Ecological's PSR. Non-toxic and works well.
Wow! $78 gal.
SqPeg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2018, 08:54   #15
Registered User

Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2,340
Re: Flushing w/ bleach - environmental concerns?

Remember that the municipal water that everyone in your marina is using to wash down their boat has chlorine in it. Dilution is the key.

Try using a weaker bleach solution and see if it works. 1/2 tablespoon of bleach in 25 gallons is about pool strength (3 ppm). So try a few tablespoons of bleach instead of the full shock. And after it's clean, get in the habit of adding just enough bleach so that you can smell it - maybe a teaspoon - once a month. This will avoid a repeat.

Also, go to your local pool store and get some spa cleaning chemicals (same as for pool but in smaller packaging). While the bleach will sanitize the tank it won't necessarily remove all the stains and crud.
__________________

CarlF is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bleach, environment, freshwater system

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Environmental Concerns in Tahiti Jaylonious Pacific & South China Sea 39 26-05-2016 17:45
Bleach Mixture after Rat Infestation? Rex Delay Health, Safety & Related Gear 13 31-01-2013 14:25
Cleaning / Washing Sails - Washing Machine ? Bleach ? dennisail Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 19 24-05-2010 22:16
bleach taste in holding tank shellback Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 15 22-05-2007 14:23

Advertise Here


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:09.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.