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Old 21-10-2012, 10:21   #46
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

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Originally Posted by Blue Crab View Post
That's a cheery little thought.
I was on a delivery last May when that exact thing happened.
We were headed from Whidbey Island to Newport Beach California and were off the coast of Oregon when the events unfolded.
The 5 year old DF35 had a flow through holding tank below the waterline with an electric diaphragm discharge pump.
The problem was caused by the previous owner's lack of understanding of how the system worked.
Apparently, they just pumped the head's handle until everything "disappeared" from the bowl.
After awhile, all the hoses started to stink so every time they used the head, a slosh of straight bleach was added to the bowl.

When the current owner bought the boat, it had 8 GALLONS of bleach aboard, and the new owner had no idea why.

We only put all the pieces of the puzzle together after the fact when we had to head into a strange port in the middle of the night, crossing a very shallow bar to enter (with the help of the local Coast Guard), but that's another story.

Thankfully, the owner put us up in a hotel for the night!

Tied up to a dock the next morning, it became very clear what the bleach was all about, why the discharge pump wouldn't empty the tank and why the bowl kept
refilling with very old nasty sewage.
Every check valve in the whole system was clogged with the usual detritus and had been seriously attacked by the bleach so they were stiff and didn't want to close.
Did I mention this happened on a holiday?
Thankfully, I managed to clean and soften them up enough to get the system working.

Sorry for the thread drift.
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Old 21-10-2012, 10:36   #47
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

The only places outside the USA where I have used WORKING pumpout facilities were Canada($$) and Sydney harbor (free, but a pita).

That doesn't stop a lot of countries from requiring holding tanks. I've had to swear I had one during check-in lots of times, but I only have been inspected in the USA.

Property owners everywhere hate to have boats anchored in front of them for free, and the sewage issue is one excuse they can use to restrict anchoring. The West End on Roatan is a good recent example where the local resorts successfully evicted the cruisers.

We left the holding tank in and used it in harbors and when anchored near swimming beaches. It could hold things for a week, then we went offshore and dumped it. There was a Y-valve in the line from the toilet so we could dump directly overboard. When we were in an area where we didn't use the tank, we flushed it thoroughly at sea, and never had a problem with the stink.

That was more than most cruisers did, but it made me feel better.

Rule #1--don't swim in the anchorage before 10 am.
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Old 21-10-2012, 10:44   #48
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

response to Senormechanico:

The problem sounds familiar. When I first purchased the Hunter, it started to stink almost immediately. I soon discovered that the holding tanks were half filled with epoxy-like solid waste from the previous owner, and the hoses leading to the macerator pump were totally clogged.

The major flaw with that type of holding tank system design, is that it becomes necessary to pump out via the marina pump out station every 4-5 days, so the lower hoses never really get flushed out and the macerator pumps never get exercised... leading to the situation you described.
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Old 21-10-2012, 11:35   #49
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

my 11 year old Hunter with 2 tanks and no direct overboard doesn't have any odor and has never clogged the lines

Maybe some need to pump more when using their heads! I always pump extra water into them before I pump them overboard, then I pump water into them again after discharging and repeat to wash out the tanks
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Old 21-10-2012, 16:29   #50
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

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Personally, when I'm anchored out in some pristine anchorage and take my morning swim, the last thing I want to come across when swimming back to the boat is a recently created cloud from a macerating head. I much prefer that to held and released later. But perhaps my aversion to swimming in sewage is uncommon.
Gotta give it to you man, that one made me laugh.
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Old 21-10-2012, 16:36   #51
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

Regarding the composting head, we ditched it because we got a huge invasion of bugs from it. Was gross and am trying to purge it from my memory. When it worked it was awesome, but when it went bad it was horrible.

I'll keep the existing holding tank in operation then. It's gravity drained so it's really not that bad. When the valve is opened it really acts like nothing more than a vented loop.

Thanks for your input everyone. I'm happy to bring such wonderful topics to the forefront such as money and sewage management.
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Old 21-10-2012, 18:57   #52
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

Rebel heart, when you say 'bugs', do you mean of the insect type or bugs as in bacterial infections? I'm not sure if Ozspeak is of similar meaning to USspeak. ie: "I can't go to work today; I've picked up some sort of bug", could mean either a cold or a stomach upset (as in 'crook in the guts').
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Old 21-10-2012, 19:06   #53
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

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Rebel heart, when you say 'bugs', do you mean of the insect type or bugs as in bacterial infections? I'm not sure if Ozspeak is of similar meaning to USspeak. ie: "I can't go to work today; I've picked up some sort of bug", could mean either a cold or a stomach upset (as in 'crook in the guts').
I'm talking about little white bugs, tens or hundreds of thousands of them all over the boat. I bought every type of bug killer and they just kept on wiggling. Opened up the composting head and found the bugs were based out of there. It was so disgusting it's honestly hard for me to wrap my head around.

I think they were some type of mite, but without actually taking one to a bug scientists and letting them classify it's pretty impossible to determine the specie. Maybe the worst experience I've had on a boat, and that's coming from a submarine sailor.
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Old 21-10-2012, 20:16   #54
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

Rebel Heart,

I came back home to Massachusetts from Spain to find a pair of drug addict squatters living in my carriage house. It will end up costing $10,000 to extract them through the legal system in this wacky state.

'Sounds like you had kinda the same problem with your composting head... I feel your pain.
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Old 21-10-2012, 22:04   #55
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Rebel Heart,

I came back home to Massachusetts from Spain to find a pair of drug addict squatters living in my carriage house. It will end up costing $10,000 to extract them through the legal system in this wacky state.

'Sounds like you had kinda the same problem with your composting head... I feel your pain.
Sorry to hear that. Isn't it still trespassing?? Why do you have to pay anything?

And no, it's not the same. He was allowed to spray, powder and bomb his bugs into oblivion. Yours-it's not that easy. Sorry- we just got robbed too and had our lives messed with. Makes one a bit touchy. Hope it turns out ok
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Old 22-10-2012, 09:55   #56
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

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Sorry to hear that. Isn't it still trespassing?? Why do you have to pay anything?

And no, it's not the same. He was allowed to spray, powder and bomb his bugs into oblivion. Yours-it's not that easy. Sorry- we just got robbed too and had our lives messed with. Makes one a bit touchy. Hope it turns out ok

Beware... my squatter situation could happen to anyone in this messed up country. The vermin moved in to my carriage house with two pitbulls while I was in Spain and changed the locks. I called the police to evict the tresspassers, but the dregs told the police they had a rental agreement/lease.... so the police refused to get involved. Now, I have to go through the kangaroo housing court system to get them out.

If anyone believes the local police will come help you when things get ugly.... you're sadly mistaken. Now, I never leave home without my .357 magnum.

I can't wait to get back over to Spain and back on the boat. Sorry about the thread drift.
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Old 22-10-2012, 21:40   #57
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

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Gotta give it to you man, that one made me laugh.
My comment summed up why I think a holding tank has value, even where not legally required. However, you clearly have the experience, knowledge and ability to look down the road, to see the trade-offs and what will best suit your needs. Nobody knows better about what is best for you, than you do, so do what you know will best meet your needs.

All the best with that and the many other projects I'm sure you have to deal with.
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Old 22-10-2012, 22:29   #58
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

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My comment summed up why I think a holding tank has value, even where not legally required. However, you clearly have the experience, knowledge and ability to look down the road, to see the trade-offs and what will best suit your needs. Nobody knows better about what is best for you, than you do, so do what you know will best meet your needs.

All the best with that and the many other projects I'm sure you have to deal with.
Well then in solitude for my sailing community and being a cool neighbor it will stay in. I really just have no idea how it works out there in places I've never been before. This whole big departure thing is blowing my mind.
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Old 23-10-2012, 05:26   #59
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[QUOTE="Randyonr3"]Boy Rebel, you opened a can of crap........
we've opted to keep a 3 gallon tank with a gulper pump on the other side to dump.. we treat all the sewage only to keep the smell down with a squirt bottle and a few squirts after using the head.. The only reason we have the tank is to satisfy those in marinas we visit..
You kinda lose faith in those making all the nasty remarks when the local treatment plant accidentally hits the wrong valve and dumps hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage into the bay. and all they can say is oops..[/QUOTE

What kind of stuff so you put in the squirt bottle? This sounds good to me.
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Old 23-10-2012, 05:45   #60
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Re: Thinking of Yanking the Holding Tank

I'm going to this - best of both worlds (holding and porta). Btw there are pumpable portapotties

SeaLand Traveler Self-Contained Portable Toilet / Holding Tank
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