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Old 26-11-2011, 18:29   #91
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

I am guessing that there is no big access port in your tank.

One way a friend of ours cleaned out a really old nasty tank on a new to him boat was by renting a heated pressure washer (heated was a key element) and using that to basically blast the gunk build up off the walls of the tank. He replaced the hoses.

He was able to maneuver around in the tank pretty well with the small tip on the washer. You have to get the right washer thought, one that has heat and one with a tip small enough to fit in the tank port.

He did this at the pump out station so he could keep sucking the mess out as he worked. Not a fun job, but it did the job.

Another option I have read about is installing a large access port in the top of the tank, to clean it now and for future access needs.

good luck ; -P
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Old 26-11-2011, 19:59   #92
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Originally Posted by bazzer

Your right of course, air is needed in the system for more than one reason, on a boat it is a vent and needed to prevent both pressure build up and to prevent a partial vacuum that could collapse the tank when being pumped out. My problem is due to the sludge build up on the walls of the tank. I've just got to figure out how to clean it


When we bought our boat we had this problem. We heard about and tried to clean sludge out of holding tanks using All detergent (we've used Tide too). You add about a quart? to each tank, go sailing on day with lots of swell, rock it clean, then pump out, rinse with water and pump out again. It worked well. I'm not sure if there was a reason for one type of detergent. Hope it works for you!
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Old 26-11-2011, 22:21   #93
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

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Originally Posted by bazzer View Post
My problem is due to the sludge build up on the walls of the tank. I've just got to figure out how to clean it
That's fairly easy... That "sludge" is actually a buildup of the animal fats that are present in all body waste. It's not responsible for your tank odor, btw. Fill the tank about 3/4 full with clean water...put at least a gallon--2 gallons if your tank is much bigger than about 15 gallons--of LIQUID laundry detergent (Wisk is good). Add two bags of ice cubes and IMMEDIATELY go sailing and tack a lot to agitate the water in the tank and get the ice cubes to scrub the walls. If the buildup is over several years, you may have to do this several times to get the tank walls really clean. Once you've gotten 'em clean, do this once a year to keep 'em that way.

And while you're at it, flush all the sludge accumulation out of the bottom of the tank too (you don't need detergent for this job, just water)....it should be done 2-3 x season, and especially in preparation for winter or other extended layup: first, pump out or dump the tank. Then put about 4-6" of clean water--can be sea water or fresh--into the tank via the deck pumpout fitting, 'cuz that sends the water into the tank at the bottom to stir up the sludge and hold it in suspension so it can be pumped out. Pump that out. Repeat...repeat...till you're pumping only clean water. If you're in open water outside the 3 mile limit and use the wash down pump, just start the macerator after you've put enough water into the tank and run it while you continue to add water.

Btw...apology accepted.
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Old 26-11-2011, 23:19   #94
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

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Originally Posted by bazzer View Post
So, I have installed a new Jabsco head and waste piping and have still been getting a nasty odor every time it's flushed. I concluded, as others have, the odor must be coming from the inlet hose. Nasty! So a couple of days afo I was looking at the installation and thought to my self " self, why not remove the small plastic valve from the inlet anti syphon loop and put some bleach down there?". This I did, using a small funnel and let it soak for a short while, and then I flushed and guess what, NO BLOODY SMELL! It was easy to do and will be a regular job when the odor comes back. I think the problem is not so much in the inlet pipe,but the area around the inlet valve on the head.
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The issue is that the flush water sits stagnant in the intake pipe, so eventually breeds bacteria and stinks. The odd dose of bleach will fix it temporarily but not even semi-permanently. My suggestion would be to flush with fresh water when you can. This is the best way to fix the stink when you flush.

In my case all the bad smell was from the above cause. The tank doesn't smell at all. I just give it a regular dose of treatment.

Again, the most common cause for the head being smelly is stagnant salt flush water. Peggie Hall suggested this in a previous thread, and I've confirmed that it's true in my case.
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Old 26-11-2011, 23:41   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF

The issue is that the flush water sits stagnant in the intake pipe, so eventually breeds bacteria and stinks. The odd dose of bleach will fix it temporarily but not even semi-permanently. My suggestion would be to flush with fresh water when you can. This is the best way to fix the stink when you flush.

In my case all the bad smell was from the above cause. The tank doesn't smell at all. I just give it a regular dose of treatment

Again, the most common cause for the head being smelly is stagnant salt flush water. Peggie Hall suggested this in a previous thread, and I've confirmed that it's true in my case.
This was my problem as well but I'm in fresh water. Same problem, same solution but different circumstances.
The test was running some vinegar through the raw water intake hose, rinsing with fresh water (not raw) in a bucket then leaving it sit a few days and returned to no smell.
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Old 26-11-2011, 23:46   #96
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

Just pouring water down the toilet won't cure INTAKE odor, 'cuz bowl contents just go out the bottom of the pump and down the discharge line....nothing in the bowl is recirculated through the intake (at least it shouldn't be!). If pouring fresh into the bowl does cure the problem, the problem isn't intake odor...the head discharge line is the culprit, and a joker valve in desperate need of replacing 'cuz the slit has become an open hole.

The simplest cheapest cure for intake odor is to reroute the head intake line to tee into the head sink drain line just ahead of the thru-hull. That provides a safe source of fresh water to rinse the sea water out of the whole system before it can sit and stagnate and stink. When closing up the boat, or every few days if you find yourself in skanky water, close the seacock, fill the sink with clean fresh water..flush the toilet. Because the seacock is closed the toilet will pull the water out of the sink.

Use only CLEAN water...this is NOT an opportunity to recycle your gray water for toilet flushing 'cuz all the hair, soap scum etc in gray water is not good for the toilet pump.

Some people like to keep the thru-hull closed all the time and use a cup or the shower head to supply flush water to the bowl. Not good for manual toilet pumps 'cuz only the bottom of the pump ever gets wet...the rest of the pump stays dry, which wears out the rubber parts. Even worse for sea water electric toilets 'cuz running dry "fries" the intake impeller almost immediately and then destroys the intake pump housing. So if you want to use fresh water on a regular basis, replumb the toilet to draw water from the sink drain or install a dedicated flush water tank (which is more of an expense and PITA than it's worth IMO), or replace the toilet with one that's designed to use onboard pressurized flush water. Those are the only viable options.
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Old 27-11-2011, 00:55   #97
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

Peggy,

Might I take the opportunity to ask some advice from someone who obviously has a great deal of knowledge about this particularly smelly subject.

Our (new to us) ketch has a plain vanilla hand pumped, non holding tank type head.

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Regulations in our home state mean I can't use this in home waters. I'm not sufficiently well heeled to afford a complete holding tank system. Not to mention that there is apparently only one marina with pump out facilities in the entire state.

Macerator type marine heads are permitted 3nm plus offshore so I'm thinking about either adding a macerator to the existing system or fitting a new macerator style head, in either case it would simply dump directly overboard.

Aside from 'get more funds somewhere' what's the best (which in our case is probably 'cheapest') option. Portapotties are non starters, I've had considerable unpleasant experiences with them, on a boat and on land. Not interested in revisiting that process. My experience is that they fill up and need to be emptied long before the chemicals (particularly the 'eco friendly' ones) have time to break down any significant amount of the waste. Also had an unpleasant experience lugging a (very) full one up to the deck in moderate seas and trying to empty it without getting inundated in either raw sewage or sea water, both of which were largely unsuccessful. Never again. I took a swim around the boat before going below and the hell with the sharks. Still wound up with a dose of gastro that I think was related.

If I ever see your book somewhere, I'll buy it. I appreciate that knowledge is valuable.

The boat is a 35' Ferro Hartley Queenslander if that helps.

AussieGeoff
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Old 27-11-2011, 01:12   #98
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieGeoff View Post
Macerator type marine heads are permitted 3nm plus offshore so I'm thinking about either adding a macerator to the existing system or fitting a new macerator style head, in either case it would simply dump directly overboard.
You may want to check on that as to what the actual definitions are.

marine toilet regulations - Google Search
Sewage (Maritime Safety Queensland)
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Old 27-11-2011, 02:46   #99
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

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Originally Posted by cat man do View Post
You may want to check on that as to what the actual definitions are.

marine toilet regulations - Google Search
Sewage (Maritime Safety Queensland)
I'm in SA and I did. 3 miles offshore provided it's a macerator toilet.
Quote:
Marine waters vessel operators must:
1. Only discharge untreated black water provided:
a. The vessel is underway on marine waters,
b. The vessel is more than three nautical miles from the nearest land, an aquaculture lease or people in the water, and,
c. Black water has been macerated into a fine slurry. Pump valves on hand or electric pumps on a marine head are not considered as macerators.
2. Not use formaldehyde based chemical treatments as a sanitising agent for toilets.
End Quote.
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Old 27-11-2011, 06:47   #100
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

Peggy,

First, you continue to define "class act" on CF, even on a stinky subject. Thanks for all you contribute here.

I have the stinky inlet problem. In your post above you suggest one option is a "dedicated flush water tank" of fresh water. I want to convert to using fresh and thought I'd just tap into a fw hose before the boat's pressure pump, and put a check valve in the hose to the head to be double sure nothing could back flow into the fresh water system, although theoretically no bad stuff could back flow anyway. Is this a bad idea?

I can't easily use your suggestion of the sink drain and tee fitting as a source. My head sinks drain into the shower sump which then pumps the sink water up over a vented loop and back down to a shared seacock drain. Would be very tricky with big distances to manage. So the hassle of taping into the fresh water system seems better, but I haven't considered the need for a dedicated tank for fresh flush water.

Thanks,

JR
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Old 27-11-2011, 08:48   #101
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

I want to convert to using fresh and thought I'd just tap into a fw hose before the boat's pressure pump, and put a check valve in the hose to the head to be double sure nothing could back flow into the fresh water system, although theoretically no bad stuff could back flow anyway. Is this a bad idea?

Yup...it is a bad idea 'cuz check valves can't prevent e-coli and other bacteria from migrating into the fresh water plumbing. Toilets that are designed to onboard pressurized flush water have redundant vacuum breakers and check valves.

And there's another problem with it if your toilet is a manual toilet: manual toilets are designed to PULL in flush water. Fresh water lines are pressurized, PUSHING water through the toilet, which would misalign seals, o-rings etc in the pump. And finally, it's the fresh water pump that keeps water in the fresh water plumbing...you wouldn't have have any flush water unless that pump is on.

EVERY toilet mfr specifically warns against connecting any sea water toilet to the potable water system because it can't be done without risk of contaminating the fresh water supply, damage to the toilet, or both.

I think there is a way to use your sink drain: Instead of actually rerouting the head intake line to tee into it, tee a "spur" into the intake line and install a y-valve in the drain line ahead of the sump (since there's no exposure to a thru-hull, for this you could even use a plastic garden hose valve if you drain is 3/4"). Use the sink and toilet normally until you need to rinse the sea water out of the sanitation system. Turn the y-valve, fill the sink...flush the toilet. Not quite as simple as just rerouting the head intake line, but a lot simpler than any other solution and a safe one.
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Old 27-11-2011, 09:11   #102
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

Macerator type marine heads are permitted 3nm plus offshore so I'm thinking about either adding a macerator to the existing system or fitting a new macerator style head, in either case it would simply dump directly overboard.

Anything is legal 3 miles offshore...'cuz that puts you in international waters, so you wouldn't have to do anything if you only use the toilet when more than 3 miles out to sea.

There are two solutions that would be at least as affordable as replacing your toilet with a macerating electric toilet:

A. It appear from your photo that your toilet is a Lavac...the pump can also double as a tank discharge pump.... So you already have almost every thing you need to install a tank except the tank and few feet of hose. A 10-15 gallon rigid plastic tank shouldn't cost you any more than a macerator pump. I'm gonna let Lavac owners who've done this explain how to plumb it.

B. An "MSD" portapotty is one that's designed to be permanently installed and is fitted for pumpout (or in your case, dump out) so you'd never have to carry it. So don't rule one out, 'cuz they've come a long way since your previous experience with a small portable model...and because the MSD versions must be vented to be pumped or dumped, managing for odor prevention is no different than for any other holding tank. A 5-6 gallon model holds 50-60 flushes. Check out the Thetford 365MSD...they even makes an electric version that runs on AA batteries--the 465 MSD. A vent line and vent thru-hull, a manual or electric discharge pump plus some hose to the existing toilet discharge fitting are all you'd need.

However, with your existing toilet and pump, I'd think I'd try to go for Plan A first.

Btw...Boat Books Australia carries my book.
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Old 27-11-2011, 09:27   #103
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

I'm sure the author of that article is correct about the legal requirements (although I'm not sure how AU law can require anything beyond 3 miles...even our own EPA can't pull that off!), but I can't imagine why anyone would recommend a putting product that's a combination of gluteraldehyde (a formaldehyde derivative that's even MORE lethal) and quaternary ammonium compounds into a tank to make it ready to dump after recommending against the use of formaldehyde.

And since toilet waste going directly overboard OR into a tank passes through the same toilet discharge hose, I can't imagine why anyone would conclude that flushing into a tank would cause more "scale" buildup in the head discharge hose than flushing directly overboard.

So read to learn the laws, but take his advice with a grain of salt!
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Old 27-11-2011, 09:38   #104
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

This was my problem as well but I'm in fresh water. Same problem, same solution but different circumstances.

Fresh water can be just as skanky as sea water in lakes where there's too little current flow to keep the water clean or in rivers near a sewage treatment plant that's just overflowed (again <sigh>). And the solution is the same as for sea water: flush out the plumbing with CLEAN fresh water.

Be a bit careful using vinegar...you don't want to leave the soft rubber parts in the toilet soaking in it for very long, 'cuz the vinegar will cause 'em to swell up and distort. Vinegar is the recommended "treatment" to prevent sea water and hard water mineral buildup, but should be flushed out after about an hour.
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Old 27-11-2011, 12:51   #105
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Re: I Cured the Smell from My Head

Ok, thanks Peg for saving me and my family from nasty disease, I was worried thoses systems should never get so close.

I'll look into possibly converting my Raritan heads to take pressurized fresh water from the potable system.

I might just go back to plan A however. My exact problem is with stinky intake water only in my aft head and only after the boat has sat for a while. In this time then raw water in the approx 8' hose from the seacock to the head must ripen and get stinky. After a few flushes it's ok again and stays that way with normal usage. Incidentially this doesn't happen with my fwd head with about the same length of hose. My guess is that because the aft hose runs through the engine room and typically the engine is run to put the boat away to get to my slip, that the raw water in the hose is nice and warm and the critters in there are happy to make stink quickly. Otherwise I can't explained why my always cool fwd raw water never stinks. So my original plan A was to tap a y valve into the short hose between the back of the flush pump on the toilet and the bowl, and divert the first 20 pumps or so to a seacock drain so all the stinky water never came in the bowl. In the event I want to put vinager in the full intake line I can always put it in the strainer next to the intake seacock. I think that would solve the major stink problem, but I thought if I'm fixing all this I should consider a fresh water option.

Always open to anyone's ideas.

JR
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