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Old 22-08-2011, 11:16   #1
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Foul Head Odor

I need advice, badly. I have a Catalina 42 with a forward and aft head. Each head also has its own black water tank which have been completely emptied. Anytime the aft head is used, the smell of sewer is so bad, everyone on board has to flee topside. In addition, boats docked close by can also smell the sewer smell. As I said, both tanks are emptied, and have blue tank deodorizer in them. I have poured the blue deodorizer directly into the toilet when flushing to see if I can detect leaks in the system, and none are found. What am I missing?
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Old 22-08-2011, 11:23   #2
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Re: Foul Head Odor

I am a big fan of chlorine bleach. The kind you buy for your laundry at the grocery store. Use about the same quantity as you do for your laundry. A sploosh into the toilet and flush. For your sitch, I'd say, treat and flush a lot....fill the tank, empty the tank, repeat. You WILL get rid of the smell.

Question is, what next? Are the tank and hoses made of the right stuff? Are all hose connections in good shape?

Some people will warn you that chlorine bleach will destroy seals, etc. They may be right....but I'm not talking about using it full strength. Only as part of flushing.

I find it much more effective than the blue stuff. It really does kill the bacteria that are causing the stench......not just covering it up. I flush with it at least once per day, and always after emptying the holding tank.
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Old 22-08-2011, 11:24   #3
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Re: Foul Head Odor

Catalinas use a stantion as the vent for the holding tank. I think that your vent hose might have come off the base of the stantion and is venting into the boats interior. Locate and follow the vent hose from the tank to the stantion. I am sure that you will find the problem.
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Old 22-08-2011, 11:44   #4
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Re: Foul Head Odor

The first step is to buy Peggy Hall's book.
The next step is to clean inside the rim of the bowl, you know, those little holes in the rim where the flush water comes out. Sealife gets stuck up in the rim and rots. This is probably the most common source of odor from a marine toilet. Of course as Captain465 said, check your vent lines. Don't put Clorox in your toilet. It will damage the toilet and kill the good critters living in the tank. A holding tank with good ventilation won't smell. Peggy "The Head Mistress" will be along soon to correct any mistakes I've made and will give you the straight poop! I love bathroom humor.
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Old 22-08-2011, 13:40   #5
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Re: Foul Head Odor

Even after many years on this and other forums I still find it amazing just how difficult it is to kill bad information. As HopCar says, never use Chlorine bleach in a marine toilet.

JoeBink, do a search on the forum and you will find all kinds of information on smelly heads. Hint: look for Peggy Hall's posts (username peghall)
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Old 22-08-2011, 13:59   #6
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Re: Foul Head Odor

I am not the only one who uses chlorine bleach in the head and finds it beneficial.

The difference may be whether or not you want to keep "good" bacterial action going in the holding tank. My opinion is to not have any bacterial activity if you can avoid it........but to each their own.......
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Old 22-08-2011, 14:23   #7
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Re: Foul Head Odor

An UNCLOGGED vent??
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Old 22-08-2011, 14:44   #8
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Re: Foul Head Odor

i use vinegar and love it. if you allow the sea water to sit in th e hoses you will have a rotten egg kind of stagnant water smell. before you have guests on board, if you do not use the head every day, flush with sea water for 3-5 minuets daily to rid boat of that smell. clorox in sea water makes for hard on equipment chemicals. vinegar will remove some salt deposits as well as freshen the water. clorox doesnt remove salt. or salt build up.
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Old 22-08-2011, 16:50   #9
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The vent connector was lose, so I unscrewed it, coated the threads with Teflon goo and reinstalled it. The vent hose runs out the transom and vents right by the pump opening. the hose and vent appear to be unclogged, so I am hoping that it was the lose fitting that caused the smell. I am a little concerned adding bleach to the tank and mixing with ammonia from urine. If my memory serves me correctly, that creates a toxic gas.
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Old 22-08-2011, 18:47   #10
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Re: Foul Head Odor

That kind of fixes your interior problem. But doesn't fix the total problem as you posted about the odor outside the other boats could smell. You need to flush out your tanks and proably upgrade your vent sizing.
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Old 22-08-2011, 19:01   #11
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Re: Foul Head Odor

after cleaning, add odorlos to your tank via the toilet. follow instructions on the package. the cleaning is with vinegar. does hoses nice and removes salt water that helps the odor stay and clogs hoses eventually. but odorlos in the tank..
when theinterior no longer stinkies, the vent should be changed out so it wont stinkie, but i usually find the air cleans up when the problem is solved--ie, th einterior mayhem. the vent should come around within 30 min of cleaning. even without help.
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Old 22-08-2011, 19:07   #12
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Re: Foul Head Odor

Composting head. Best smelling boat in the harbor.
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Old 22-08-2011, 19:30   #13
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Re: Foul Head Odor

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
i use vinegar and love it. if you allow the sea water to sit in th e hoses you will have a rotten egg kind of stagnant water smell. before you have guests on board, if you do not use the head every day, flush with sea water for 3-5 minuets daily to rid boat of that smell. clorox in sea water makes for hard on equipment chemicals. vinegar will remove some salt deposits as well as freshen the water. clorox doesnt remove salt. or salt build up.
Bingo. Yes, the vent hose may be an issue, but white vinegar is essential. Of course, an electric head that flushes with fresh water is nice, if you have adequate tankage or a watermaker.

I'm not sure why salt water toilets smell so much worse than fresh water toilets, but they do.
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Old 22-08-2011, 19:46   #14
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Re: Foul Head Odor

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBink View Post
I am a little concerned adding bleach to the tank and mixing with ammonia from urine. If my memory serves me correctly, that creates a toxic gas.
First, adding bleach to a marine head is bad for all of the reasons you have been told. Specifically, it will shorten the life of the pump.

Regarding adding ammonia and bleach. Chloramine is formed in the reaction and is dangerous IF the bleach and ammonia are reasonable concentrated. It is a gas and is quite powerful and deadly if concentrated. However, at the very low concentration of ammonia present in waste, the chloramine will safely disolve in the water. Many (most) municipalities use chloramine for drinking water disinfection, rather than simple chlorine as in the past.

But I would not use it, other than perhaps to wipe down surfaces.
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Old 22-08-2011, 19:46   #15
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Re: Foul Head Odor

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Bingo. Yes, the vent hose may be an issue, but white vinegar is essential. Of course, an electric head that flushes with fresh water is nice, if you have adequate tankage or a watermaker.

I'm not sure why salt water toilets smell so much worse than fresh water toilets, but they do.
salt water stagnates with a rotting egg smell due to the things growing init. needs to be thoroughly flushed when that smell comes in-- my hose for exit is one gallon. i flush mine out with 3 or 4 gallons of water.then is fine. in tank i use odorlos-- only thing i have found doesnt just cover up the smell.
i never use the blue junk.
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