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Old 20-06-2018, 01:17   #1
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Waste management

Hello everyone. I just joined the forum tonight. I need some advice. I know this subject has probably been beat to death. I have been reading a lot of posts about holding tank venting. I just bought a houseboat and I need to go look again, but I believe I am not vented at all. I think there is some aftermarket tanks in the boat. The reason I say this is that there is a large aluminum tank, that has a hose coming out of it and is capped off. The actual system that is being used is two 20 gallon plastic tanks connected together with a hose. I do not remember now, because I didn't know what to look for, but I do not remember seeing anything but the large hose leading in. So my question is, if it is not vented, from what I have read, I just need to install a uniseal fitting, add a short piece of the correct pvc pipe to that, then run a good waste hose from the pipe to a through hull fitting? If this is correct, since I have two tanks connected together, do I need to vent both, or just one?
One last question, why doesn't doing this carry odor from the tank to the boat docked next to you? I really appreciate any advice before I make a big mistake!!
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Old 20-06-2018, 05:20   #2
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Re: Waste management

Find posts by Peggie Hall (the Head Mistress), buy her book, all is revealed.

The short version is that if you have good air flow, aerobic bacteria thrive, no odor.

Charcoal vent filters exist, largely to keep from gassing your neighbor, but they aren't necessarily a great solution especially if unnecessary.

-Chris
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Old 20-06-2018, 08:06   #3
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Re: Waste management

I suspect that the aluminum tank has been "abandoned" and capped off and replaced by plastic tanks because it's leaking. Urine is so corrosive that it'll eat through a weld at a seam or fitting in a metal waste tank in an average of about 5 years...turn the tank into a colander in about 10 years. Most likely it wasn't removed and replaced with one similar size plastic tank because it's too big to fit through any hatch or possibly because they were afraid of spilling contents.

USCG regs require that all waste tanks be vented to the outside of the boat because methane--one of the gasses generated by waste in an anaerobic environment--is flammable...and because all organic matter including toilet waste generates gasses as it breaks down. If the tank isn't vented or the vent is blocked, they pressurize the tank and also make it impossible to pump out.

Bottom line: those tanks MUST be vented. And most likely the plumbing needs some improvement. I'll be glad to help you figure out how to do it right the FIRST time....I'm very familiar with Somerset AND Summerset houseboats. So you're welcome to give me a shout via PM or email.

Meanwhile, my book (see link in my signature) will provide you with a lot of help to understand what's needed and why.

Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
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Old 20-06-2018, 09:08   #4
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Re: Waste management

Peggy is such a good helpful member of CF! Bravo Peggy!

She is a true expert in a essential subject and always willing to help.
She literally "wrote the book."

Every new boat owner should buy her book.
Loads of insights and advice for a very low price.
Lots of tips on how to avoid having a stinky boat.
The kindle version is less than $10.
https://www.amazon.com/New-Get-Rid-B...dp/1892399784/

I think it smarter to spend that $10 on her book full of real, practical advice, and then implement possible solutions to odors, rather than wasting money on air freshener coverups. Read the book, then fix the real problems to eliminate (not coverup) boat odors.
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Old 20-06-2018, 10:00   #5
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Re: Waste management

Just a note on Peggy....her guidance and information was essential in coming up with a solution to my holding tank problems and the use of the SCAD tank monitor.

Give credit where credit is due !!
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Old 20-06-2018, 10:11   #6
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Re: Waste management

Thank you very much! When I go back to the boat this weekend, I will examine the system closer now that I know a little more about what to look for and see exactly what my situation is.
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Old 20-06-2018, 18:53   #7
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Re: Waste management

mottseng, you and Ranger and Steadman made my day...Thank you! Beeteam, I promise to do my best for you!

--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
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Old 21-06-2018, 11:16   #8
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Re: Waste management

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
mottseng, you and Ranger and Steadman made my day...Thank you! Beeteam, I promise to do my best for you!

--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
I have some more info that may be helpful in solving this. I went back to the boat today, and I was wrong. Both tanks are vented. One thing I think could be better though is that from what I have read, the shorter hose, the better. I would say mine is running around 20'.

Here are some points I think are important to note, and then I will give my suspicion of what I think may be going on.

First, we have only had the boat 3 weeks. The first weekend in it, there was no odor at all, nothing, but I guess the tanks were about full because the second weekend, we started getting the odor and the toilet would back up after flushing. I called the marina to pump it, and when they did, it was so full that when they removed the fitting to pump, it started running out on the deck.

Another thing that is strange to me is we have this odor coming from the toilet, but when I go down to the tank and hoses, I smell absolutely nothing? Does that make any sense?

My suspicion is maybe we got it so full that the vent hose got stuff in it and is now blocked? What do you think?

I also wonder if since my vent is so long, if I should make another much shorter one?

I really think we have a simple problem since there was no odor until the tanks got so full.

Thank you so much for your help!!
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Old 21-06-2018, 11:16   #9
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Re: Waste management

I also took some pictures of the setup if it would help to see them?
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Old 21-06-2018, 14:49   #10
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Re: Waste management

Sounds like the vents--both of 'em--are blocked (common in the spring 'cuz they're a favorite place for dirt daubers to build their nests), pressurizing the system. There prob'ly wouldn't be an odor out the vent until the system became pressurized 'cuz none could escape the tank.

Another thing that is strange to me is we have this odor coming from the toilet, but when I go down to the tank and hoses, I smell absolutely nothing? Does that make any sense?

It does to me. And it's good news 'cuz it tells me you don't have any leaks in the system...that all the tank fittings and hose connections are tight and the hoses aren't permeated with odor....that the odor in the toilet from waste in the tank that the back pressure is pushing back to the toilet.

You do need a much shorter vent, and yes I'd like to see the photos. Prob'ly be best if you email 'em to me. I'll send you an email that includes my email address. I'd also like to know the make/model approx age of your toilet(s). It/they may be due for some maintenance... and we can also figure out how to remove the aluminum tank without causing more problems than it solves.

--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
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Old 21-06-2018, 19:45   #11
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Re: Waste management

Peggie is the expert, but vents ought to be big, short and all uphill, no dips
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Old 21-06-2018, 21:01   #12
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Re: Waste management

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Peggie is the expert, but vents ought to be big, short and all uphill, no dips
Big, yes...short, yes..and definitely no dips, but no arches either. Ideally should be straight as an arrow and shouldn't rise steeper than 45 degrees because the gasses in the tank--even odorless Co2--are heavier than air and have a hard time exchanging with air from above if the vent line is any steeper. So better to have it a foot or two longer to keep the rise shallower.

--Peggie
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