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Old 17-08-2017, 08:04   #1
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Handling Bilge water

Good day folks

OK, so how does everyone deal with their automatic bilge pump?
I'm starting to get water in my bilge (have not tracked down the source yet, but that's a different story) and am very concerned about it pumping overboard for fear of any contaminant and the potential fines!

Before anyone goes off, I'm very environmentally conscious and would never deliberately dump contaminants overboard. I have a 3M pad under my engine, and have shoved some in around the bilge pump as well as a just in case.

When I look in the bilge their is no obvious oil or fuel in the water, but I'm also sure that there is no way it is 100% clean.

Am I just being paranoid?
Thougths?

No, not on my paranoia, on handling the bilge water!

Thanks again,
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Old 17-08-2017, 08:21   #2
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Re: Handling Bilge water

I would guess your boat has a "containment tub" under it. This is probably big enough to handle all the oil in the engine. I place a single absorbing sheet under my engine to see where any drops originate. But at almost 40 my diesel will drip on occasion.

So assuming you are not placing human waste in the bilge, that your transmission is not dripping fluid, and you see no visible oil on the surface of the bilge water- pump away. On my boat I have a roll of oil absorbing pads that I change every 8-12 months. It does not get oily, I change it out of habit.

Bigger question is the one you brushed off- where's the water coming from? But that is a whole different thread.
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Old 17-08-2017, 08:38   #3
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Re: Handling Bilge water

Thank you Snore; appreciate the feedback.
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Old 17-08-2017, 09:00   #4
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Re: Handling Bilge water

My engine has it's own container bilge with no drain so any fuel/oil stays there to be caught by the absorption pad. So I don't give any thought to my bilge pump running once a day and I've given up chasing the "dry" bilge.
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Old 17-08-2017, 09:04   #5
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Re: Handling Bilge water

"Am I just being paranoid?"

Yes. Yes you are.

Unless you have a serious oil leak, your bilge water is no worse than the normal runoff from streets and highways.

But; I would be looking for the source of that bilge water. On a boat, the water is supposed to be on the outside.
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Old 17-08-2017, 09:06   #6
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Re: Handling Bilge water

Carlos, you sound like you have taken the appropriate steps to be a good steward of the oceans. Change, or check, the pads every so often to insure they are not full of dino remains and let the pump empty the water.

Since that is now solved and you have tons more free time, go find the source of the water!
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Old 17-08-2017, 09:08   #7
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Re: Handling Bilge water

Determine the source of the water in your bilge. That will either re-assure as to its environmental significance, or not. Is it salt, or fresh water? Check your dripless seal or stuffing box, A/C condensate, fridge drainage, and through hulls. If there's no fuel, oil, coolant, or sewage component to the bilge water, you can pretty well rule out a societal threat, and focus on a personal one.
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Old 17-08-2017, 09:17   #8
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Re: Handling Bilge water

If the bilge pump is kicking in more than once every couple days I'd jump right on finding the source. A recently built 40' Hanse probably has a dripless packing so the bilge ought to be a little dusty.
Don't know about you but I'm surrounded by giant powerboats and Nordie's etc. which seem to circulate large volumes of water thru various above water discharges at all hours of the day and night. I think your quart a day is not harmful if your bilge is free of petrochemicals.
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Old 17-08-2017, 09:27   #9
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Re: Handling Bilge water

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV Bacchus View Post
Carlos, you sound like you have taken the appropriate steps to be a good steward of the oceans. Change, or check, the pads every so often to insure they are not full of dino remains and let the pump empty the water.

Since that is now solved and you have tons more free time, go find the source of the water!
Indeed!
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Old 17-08-2017, 09:29   #10
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Re: Handling Bilge water

Unless you have a fuel leak or oil leak making it oily dont worry about it. Tons of oil are washed into the water weekly from automobiles depositing it on roads. It then rains and goes into the water. Not that that is good, but one drop of oil from your bilge is inconsequential.
It sounds like you are using "best management practices".
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Old 17-08-2017, 09:31   #11
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Re: Handling Bilge water

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Originally Posted by Calif.Ted View Post
Don't know about you but I'm surrounded by giant powerboats and Nordie's etc. which seem to circulate large volumes of water thru various above water discharges at all hours of the day and night. I think your quart a day is not harmful if your bilge is free of petrochemicals.


I'd be willing to bet the "large volumes of water" are from HVAC systems and refrigeration. Not the bilge.

Part of being a responsible boat owner is having a clean bilge. Ours is normally dry and clean. But when it get wet I have no qualms about pumping the water out. If I have a catastrophic failure of the oil pan while I'm not in attendance most if not all will be caught by the engine sump, the small amount that makes it to the bilge will be invariably pumped overboard and dealt with by the ecosystem. I don't want to do it, I'm not trying to do it, nor am I going to lose sleep over something I cannot control by any reasonable measure.
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Old 17-08-2017, 09:36   #12
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Re: Handling Bilge water

i have a perkins so i use those engine diapers under for spotting the inevitable leaks and the water goes overboard.
this is a normal occurrence.
i try to keep my hands out of the water.
i add soap to the bilge water if i feel there is a need. in usa bilge cleaning soap is good, here i use a nice mexican scented soap, usually rose garden or lavender
those engine diapers soak up oil only so they are excellent separators of water and oil products
btw, those large volumes of clear water pouring out of power boats is air conditioning and or genset water.
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Old 17-08-2017, 10:26   #13
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Re: Handling Bilge water

Just to clarify I miss statement that has been repeated on this thread.

A properly designed stormwater system for a roadway will separate a lot of the oil's from the water before goes out to open discharge.

Regarding vessel discharges; last I heard, if you put a sheen on the water you could be fined. I understand that sounds crazy, but that was the last I heard on the regulations for boats.
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Old 17-08-2017, 10:39   #14
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Re: Handling Bilge water

I saw a recent video of Manatees gathered where stormwater enters our local creek to drink the "clean" stormwater runoff, one could clearly see the oily sheen in the video.
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Old 17-08-2017, 18:37   #15
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Re: Handling Bilge water

Wow! Thanks for all the great replies people - greatly appreciate it.

As a point of reference, the pad under my engine is spotless, so guess I am being a bit more paranoid than necessary... Time to track down that leak!

Iv'e checked various access panels and so far, the keel bolt compartment is dry as a bone as is the area where my depth sounder is installed. No water up by the freshwater tank and nothing in the head or shower area. Water seems to be concentrated in the galley, but don't see any obvious source yet - I have a sneaking suspicion that it's one of my thru-hulls...
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