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Old 15-08-2015, 12:14   #16
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

Not to jack the thread...but do the composting toilets really handle all of the human waste when u r living aboard for long periods at a time?
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Old 15-08-2015, 13:00   #17
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

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Not to jack the thread...but do the composting toilets really handle all of the human waste when u r living aboard for long periods at a time?
It's a very simple system that manages waste very well. But you're slightly more "hands on" in dealing with the cycles of removal. With the traditional head you don't ever really confront the product directly. That's good because its a vile slurry of raw sewage. Composters are different. The "product" is dissected into liquids and solids and removal of them in this separated state is a different ball game. The crap, for instance, smells like and resembles dirt.

Beyond that, the same discharge principles would apply. If you're in a crowded harbor, then obviously you need a way to store the composting material onboard temporarily as it's still human waste, albeit composting human waste. An extra bucket or some kind of holding system.

Hope this helps!
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Old 15-08-2015, 13:54   #18
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

Has any one changed a babies nappy?Just ask your wife to change the hoses and clean out the tank. She won't need space suit, vicks under the nose, fans, gloves etc 😷
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Old 15-08-2015, 21:27   #19
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

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We had a composting head on our Bristol 24 and we knew when we were looking for the next boat that we would be reinstalling it. We got lucky with the B24, in that the holding tank hadn't been used (nor the hoses in ages) so removing everything was a painless process.

We brought our Bristol 29.9 home a few weekends ago, and our first order of business this weekend is to take care of the head situation. We aren't going to be as lucky this time. The hoses are permeated, and I'm sure the scent will only get worse as we remove everything. God forbid the tank hasn't been emptied (although the yard claimed they did it before we picked her up - I'm skeptical).

We have our tyvek suits, goggles, gloves, respirator, and shoe covers. We also have lots of duct tape and rags, and peat moss if necessary to throw in the holding tank. We're bringing the heat gun if we can't get the hoses off, but we'll cut them off if we have to since we're going to glass over the unused thruhulls.

Anything we're forgetting (or helpful suggestions) would be appreciated. In the meantime, I'm trying to stay focused on the scent-free reward when this rite of passage is finished.
Best advise is to make sure your sea cooks are turned off before you cut the hoses assuming you are still in the water!


I did the same job a couple of years ago and cutting the hoses was easiest. A nice new Stanley Knife does it. Thinking about the job was worse than doing it. I also trashed all my hose clips however good they appeared.


I wouldn't use a heat gun my self as you might create fumes.


If you remove a clip you can make a short cut along the length of the 1,1/2" or so of hose that is on a fitting. Then the old hose will open up and be easily removed. A little scratch on the fitting won't matter. Re hose with Triton hose, odour resistant and easy to work with in spite of being thick. Use liquid hand soap to help the new hoses on. Try to improve the layout by reading up on the net.


I just dumped my old holding tank into a bad bin. Don't mess about trying to clean it. Not worth risking an infection.
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Old 16-08-2015, 06:18   #20
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

Run a gallon of white vinegar through the head first...


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Old 16-08-2015, 06:48   #21
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

I did it with the boat in the water. There I was staggering up the dock with an 80lb calcified chunk of filth. Goggles, respirator, coveralls, nitril gloves....the stench was awesome. Two little old ladies walking their poodle literally ran the other way when they saw me coming. Just get your mind right and Rip all that stinking junk out!
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Old 16-08-2015, 08:21   #22
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

When I did the same job on our current boat the actual task was easier than what I'd imagined it would be. Still not fun, but not nearly as ugly as I was envisioning.

We flushed with water heavily, then pumped everything as dry as possible. I also had a supply of wood dowels ready to plug up the hoses as I pulled or cut them off. This prevented any spillage from residual crap still in the lines. Tank came out pretty easy.

Good luck. It will be soon good once it's done (but you know this already )
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Old 17-08-2015, 08:30   #23
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

Well, it took longer than expected (but what boat project doesn't), but everything is out except for the holding tank. However, it's empty and capped off so it will get the heave-ho next weekend.


Overall it wasn't as bad as expected (except for one five minute section which caused an involuntary shriek on my part), and Mr. cthoops did a yeoman job on the whole thing.


I didn't think it was possible to love our Nature's Head any more than I already did, but after this weekend I most certainly do.
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Old 17-08-2015, 09:35   #24
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

I used my Fein multitool to cut the hose. Unfortunately, I did not make sure there was not liquid remaining in the hose prior to cutting. When I cut the hose, it splattered old nasty water everywhere. Not fun.

Cutting the hose is much easier and faster than trying to pull it off of barbed fittings, just use something non-powered to do so. Unless you are sure the hose is dry inside!
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Old 17-08-2015, 09:41   #25
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

So I guess none of you are willing to try coffee that has been run through a Civit...
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Old 17-08-2015, 20:11   #26
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

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Well, it took longer than expected (but what boat project doesn't), but everything is out except for the holding tank. However, it's empty and capped off so it will get the heave-ho next weekend.


Overall it wasn't as bad as expected (except for one five minute section which caused an involuntary shriek on my part), and Mr. cthoops did a yeoman job on the whole thing.


I didn't think it was possible to love our Nature's Head any more than I already did, but after this weekend I most certainly do.
Well done. Now you won't need to do it again for 5 years
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Old 18-08-2015, 04:14   #27
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

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Well done. Now you won't need to do it again for 5 years
Thanks! But the beauty of the Nature's Head is that we'll never have to do it again unless we buy another boat - and that's not happening.
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Old 18-08-2015, 07:59   #28
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

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It's a very simple system that manages waste very well. But you're slightly more "hands on" in dealing with the cycles of removal. With the traditional head you don't ever really confront the product directly. That's good because its a vile slurry of raw sewage. Composters are different. The "product" is dissected into liquids and solids and removal of them in this separated state is a different ball game. The crap, for instance, smells like and resembles dirt.

Beyond that, the same discharge principles would apply. If you're in a crowded harbor, then obviously you need a way to store the composting material onboard temporarily as it's still human waste, albeit composting human waste. An extra bucket or some kind of holding system.

Hope this helps!
The problem is it's the rare cruiser who doesn't have the story of the traditional head that hasn't clogged or broken and then they have to deal with the fresh stuff. So I wouldn't count on a traditional head avoiding personal contact.

We get 4-6weeks out of the solids container depending on how much we use shoreside facilities. If we can time it to empty after we have been away from the boat for a couple weeks, it's about equivilent to removing potting soil. I wouldn't do it right after cousin eddy just deposited the remains of an iffy bean burrito.

One of the really nice things is you don't hit a firm limit on use. With a holding tank, when it's full, you are done using it until you can empty it. With a composter, you can usually get away with a few more days until it's convienent to empty it.
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Old 19-08-2015, 07:10   #29
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

We are going to be undertaking this exact project. So glad for all the tips in this thread. Glad it went well! Can't wait to get our composting toilet as well. ☺️


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Old 20-08-2015, 09:08   #30
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Re: Oh joy - removing the head/holding tank/hoses this weekend

It was about 1970 or so. Submarines have holding tanks. When the tanks are near full, the tank is pressurized, a valve is opened, and the contents go thru the hull. You have to stop before air gets out or you break silence. After a while, the frequency of pumping gets shorter and shorter, meaning the sides of the tank are crusted. Next time in port, there is a bucket brigade up over the side. Everyone participated. The junior guys go in the tank, wearing a plastic suit and a respirator, with a safety line attached so he can be pulled out. One guy vomited into the mask and almost died. A set of dentures were found..Seems one fellow came back drunk one day, threw up and lost his teeth. He was glad they were recovered. He cleaned them up, then put them back to use. I think of that when I have to clean the macerator, which I did a few weeks ago when a woman on board broke the rules... They were verbal. Now they are written on the toilet seat. "Those who violate the rules will be keel-hauled."
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