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Old 27-05-2014, 23:44   #1
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My fresh water stinks...

Hello all,
Forgive me if this has already been covered a billion times. I did a cursory search and didn't see any direct results.

Anyway, I've owned my boat for less than a year. It's a '92 Cruisers Rogue 2870, and it's my first boat. Since I bought it last summer, I've had issues with the freshwater system. All of my fixtures in the galley and head were partially blocked with gunk and debris. I spent a few days taking everything apart and cleaning it all out, and things are flowing nicely again.

My issue now is the smell. The water that comes out is foul. It reeks. It smells so bad that it's not worth using it to wash my hands. I certainly can't drink it. I've flushed the system out for hours on end with clean water, until the smell seems to subside, but then as soon as I leave the tank topped up for any amount of time, the smell comes back. I've used deodorizers in varying amounts, with no noticeable effect. I'm not really sure what to do next.

Can I run bleach through the system? How does this sort of thing happen in the first place? How can I avoid it?
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Old 27-05-2014, 23:53   #2
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

Isn't that why sailors mixed rum with their water?

I'd try flushing the system with a bleach/water solution, letting it sit for a day or two between flushes. Subsequently, fill with a weak vinegar/water solution and see if the resulting water is useable.
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Old 28-05-2014, 00:00   #3
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

Try baking soda and then vinegar with lots ofmdpflushing
Works very well
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Old 28-05-2014, 00:50   #4
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Isn't that why sailors mixed rum with their water?

I'd try flushing the system with a bleach/water solution, letting it sit for a day or two between flushes. Subsequently, fill with a weak vinegar/water solution and see if the resulting water is useable.
Don't forget to add some lime juice to stave off scurvy! I think I'm going to try the bleach option. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't going to harm anything in the system. What does the vinegar do? Does that neutralize any remaining bleach?
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Old 28-05-2014, 01:22   #5
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

Here's a thread I started on a similar issues, full of some good suggestions... and some links to other threads too.

Horrible smell found, now how to keep it away.


FWIW, I found I got a suprising improvement just flushing initially with tap water, which has a fair bit of chlorine in it (at least it does here in Adelaide), though in my particular case the problem requires complete removal of the tanks for other reasons.

Good luck.

Matt
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Old 28-05-2014, 02:18   #6
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

Chlorine until you can taste it. A charcoal filter near drinking tap. Check pipes. Replace clear (or visibly sludge filled) pipes with opaque ones. Buy bottles of drinking water. (in Greece 2euros for 6x2 litre bottles. You can buy pool chlorine test strips that might help monitor chlorine dosage. You're right about Adelaide water, Matt
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Old 28-05-2014, 02:44   #7
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

Thanks guys! Matt, that thread is very helpful. I've seen Peggie's guide to de-stinking come up a few times now. She certainly seems to know what she's talking about.

I'm rarely going to be on the boat for more than a few days, so I can get away without drinking that water pretty easily. It would be nice to be able to wash a few dishes, or take a quick shower though.
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Old 28-05-2014, 02:51   #8
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

As mentioned above, the hoses get overlooked. I've replaced hoses lined with unspeakable goo on past boats.
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Old 28-05-2014, 04:47   #9
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

"Fresh Water
Maintenance" in my book:

"Although most people think only in terms of the tank, the plumbing is
actually the source of most foul water, because the molds, mildew, fungi
and bacteria which cause it thrive in damp dark places, not under water.
Many people—and even some boat manufacturers—believe that keeping the
tanks empty reduce the problem, but an empty water tank only provides
another damp dark home for those “critters.”

"There are all kinds of products sold that claim to keep onboard water
fresh, but all that’s really necessary is an annua--or in especially
warm climates, semi-annual recommissioning of the entire system-—tank
and plumbing. The following recommendations conform to section 10.8 in
the A-1 192 code covering electrical, plumbing, and heating of
recreational vehicles (including boats). The solution is approved and
recommended by competent health officials. It may be used in a new
system a used one that has not been used for a period of time, or one
that may have been contaminated.

"Before beginning, turn off hot water heater at the breaker; do not turn
it on again until the entire recommissioning is complete.

1. Prepare a chlorine solution using one gallon of water and 1/2 cup (4
oz) Clorox or Purex household bleach (5-7% sodium Hypochlorine
solution). With tank empty, pour chlorine solution into tank. Use one
gallon of solution for each 5 gallons of tank capacity.

2. Complete filling of tank with fresh water. Open each faucet and drain
cock until air has been released and the entire system is filled. Do
not turn off the pump; it must remain on to keep the system pressurized
and the solution in the lines.

3. Allow to stand for at least three hours, but no longer than 24 hours.

4 Drain through every faucet on the boat (and if you haven't done this
in a while, it's a good idea to remove any diffusion screens from the
faucets, because what's likely to come out will clog them). Fill the
tank again with fresh water only, drain again through every faucet on
the boat.

5. To remove excess chlorine taste or odor which might remain, prepare a
solution of one quart white vinegar to five gallons water and allow this
solution to agitate in tank for several days by vehicle motion.

6. Drain tank again through every faucet, and flush the lines again by
fill the tank 1/4-1/2 full and again flushing with potable water.

"People have expressed concern about using this method to recommission
aluminum tanks. While bleach (chlorine) IS corrosive, it’s effects are
are cumulative. So the effect of an annual or semi-annual "shock
treatment" is negligible compared to the cumulative effect of holding
chlorinated city water in the tank for years. Nevertheless, it's a good
idea to mix the total amount of bleach in a few gallons of water before
putting it into either a stainless or aluminum tank."

Before you ask...For regular annual recommissioning, it prob'ly wouldn't
be necessary to completely fill a 125 gallon tank if you use your water
and replace it often...since 90% of foul water problems originate in
the plumbing, 40-50 gallons should be enough in most cases. But since
yours has been unused for several years, I think you'd better fill it
completely...'cuz the same "critters" that grow in damp dark lines are
also likely to have taken up housekeeping in a tank.

That chapter includes some additional things you can do keep your fresh
water fresher longer, btw.
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Old 28-05-2014, 05:46   #10
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pirate Re: My fresh water stinks...

Upstate NY...??
Hmmmm... remember pulling into a Motel in NY State on my way to Vermont and being summer and having driven all day I headed for the shower to freshen up...
Man.. the stink of sulphur from the water was over powering..
Check the smell of the water before it goes in your tanks..
As for normal filling.. I tend to chuck in a couple or 3 capfuls of bleach when I top up the average 200L tank..
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Old 28-05-2014, 06:11   #11
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

Another thing to watch for is the dock hoses and lines your water comes through.

You don't know how many hours or days the water in them has been stagnating in the sun, so run it over the side or hose your topsides for a minute or two to flush out as much of the nasties as you can, before filling your tanks.

Also, if you want to get a drink out of your faucet, first run it long enough to flush out the water that's been sitting there since you last used the sink (days, weeks?)

Graeme
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Old 28-05-2014, 06:34   #12
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

You might have some slime growing inside the tank. Take a look inside the inspection port with a flashlight to see if there is anything green or brown in the water. To get it out you have to stir up the water as much as you can to lift the slime off the floor of the tank and into suspension.

Drain and repeat.
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Old 28-05-2014, 07:25   #13
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

Unless you follow the advice of Weavis, you will be wasting your time. You need a complete re-commissioning for your system. Do as he recommended and be sure to take out the mesh aerators on the faucets because you will get a lot of organic matter that will be flushed from your tank and lines.

I do this every season and have wonderful clean water. We recently installed a SafeH2O system of filtration and UV light because we went cruising and didn't want to worry about water at various places we had to refill. We cook, shower and drink our water and never worry about taste or foul water.
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Old 28-05-2014, 07:34   #14
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by J Clark H356 View Post
Unless you follow the advice of Weavis, you will be wasting your time. You need a complete re-commissioning for your system. Do as he recommended and be sure to take out the mesh aerators on the faucets because you will get a lot of organic matter that will be flushed from your tank and lines.

I do this every season and have wonderful clean water. We recently installed a SafeH2O system of filtration and UV light because we went cruising and didn't want to worry about water at various places we had to refill. We cook, shower and drink our water and never worry about taste or foul water.
According to the factory the lamp takes ~ 20-30 seconds to warm up for each use. How do you deal with that? Let the water run for 20 seconds? A timer and interlock? Leave the light on (big drain and the UV will destroy the housing)?
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Old 28-05-2014, 09:05   #15
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Re: My fresh water stinks...

Here at WaterFixer we concur with Weavis. I also suggest looking into anti-scale products depending on the water you are dealing with. Also, having a carbon block filter will deal with the taste/odor significantly.

ThinWater - Warm-up time on UV systems like ours and Safeh20's are standard. Many customers who do not have the battery capacity, such as sailboats, put our systems on a switch. They flip it on, wait 30 seconds and then run water. You do not want to run water before the lamp is at treatment capacity. Some users also install a solenoid valve that keeps water from flowing unless the unit is turned on. Our WaterFixer chambers are stainless steel and run on 2.1 amps with the 12v system. Jesse
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