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Old 12-05-2015, 21:05   #1
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Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

So we have decided to decommission our holding tank on our IP31 as we have installed a Composting Head! We managed to get rid of the plumbing from the old head as well as the holding tank. However, the locker that the holding tank lived is still VERY stinky. We have done several applications of different "cleaners" including the tough stuff like bleach and while it has helped EVER so slightly, its still pretty darn stinky.

We are hoping to reuse that valuable space for something like a water maker (as we are liveaboards)...or other items, but don't want the stench to squander the goods that will live in that space.

Wondering if anyone has decommissioned a holding tank from a location and what they did to rid the compartment of the old nasty smell. I'm thinking maybe vinegar and air freshener to help - but if there's a better way, we are all ears. Thanks for your help!
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Old 12-05-2015, 21:18   #2
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

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Originally Posted by SV Bosco View Post
So we have decided to decommission our holding tank on our IP31 as we have installed a Composting Head! We managed to get rid of the plumbing from the old head as well as the holding tank. However, the locker that the holding tank lived is still VERY stinky. We have done several applications of different "cleaners" including the tough stuff like bleach and while it has helped EVER so slightly, its still pretty darn stinky.



We are hoping to reuse that valuable space for something like a water maker (as we are liveaboards)...or other items, but don't want the stench to squander the goods that will live in that space.



Wondering if anyone has decommissioned a holding tank from a location and what they did to rid the compartment of the old nasty smell. I'm thinking maybe vinegar and air freshener to help - but if there's a better way, we are all ears. Thanks for your help!

Clean with a degreaser and sand lightly, then repaint, works everytime.
The odor has seeped into the paint.


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Old 13-05-2015, 06:38   #3
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

that makes perfect sense. Thanks
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Old 13-05-2015, 06:45   #4
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

We just did the same thing, removed a 30 gallon stainless tank and plumbing, and two Baby Blake marine heads. We went with two composting heads.
Fine grit sanding sponges and a product called DirtX worked for me. Pretty much what BoatyardDog is saying. You need to get the exposed paint off. How deep you need to go will depend on what's on there.

Set up some constant airflow circulation through the area with a small fan if you can. If it's already got good paint on it, I'd suggest a light but thorough sanding first, and give it a day or two before deciding whether you need to remove more. By thorough, I mean think small area at a time. Not big sweeping swipes with the sponge. You need to cover every square inch. It's not hard work, just meticulous. Like waxing a car. Look especially at any crevices. stuff tends to get thick in crevices.

Also, when you're in the bilge, look up and make sure you get the underside of the overhead, if that makes sense. Any previous leaks above you could have left some traces on the underside of that deck.

I didn't have to repaint, in my case, as the previous paint is two part Interlux. Sanding it with the smooth flexible sponges took the top off. Using the DirtX in a pan of water really worked well. It keeps the sanding dust down and helps manage it all. The sponges are easy to conform and reach up into tight spots, and easy to rinse in the pan with the DirtX. I think using something like TSP would work just as well.
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Old 13-05-2015, 06:55   #5
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

You might try Pure Ayre before you repaint. Peggie Hall told me
about it. It's an enzyme based odor destroyer that seems pretty effective.
I have way too many cats and it really helps with litter box odors.

PUREAYRE MARINE ODOR ELIMINATOR

Peggie literally wrote the book on boat odors.

Get Rid of Boat Odors by Peggie Hall
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Old 13-05-2015, 07:09   #6
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

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We managed to get rid of the plumbing from the old head as well as the holding tank. However, the locker that the holding tank lived is still VERY stinky.


No help on odor removal, but FWIW, if you've got some it suggests the fittings at the tank were likely loose or deteriorated...

-Chris
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Old 13-05-2015, 07:24   #7
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

+1 on the sand and re-paint. That's what i did when i removed my tank and it worked. Mind you, my job was particularly messy so it really was necessary. It was a soft tank......... and had to be cut out in pieces. I'm sure you can picture the scene!

I realise this sounds a bit odd, but i have had incredible results getting rid of strong odours (most notably the smell of fish guts from hands and clothing after a long day fishing) using vagisil. Honestly, give it a go the next time you've got stinky hands. It'll be a revelation! Not sure if it will work for your application though......... maybe worth a try?
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Old 13-05-2015, 09:44   #8
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

I did the same thing. I sprayed all surfaces with 20% bleach solution, rinsed with vinegar and then sprayed PureAyre. No more smell
Worth a try before you sand and paint. The PureAyre is also good to get rid of residual diesel smell in the engine compartment.
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Old 13-05-2015, 10:06   #9
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

When I worked with refrigerators we would have used ones for repair and did some of them stink. We used to scrub them with formalin which did the trick. I don't know where you could get it but it was used by undertakers, worth a try.?
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Old 13-05-2015, 10:39   #10
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

Try Hydrogen Peroxide; 'works for me. Chlorine's a bit corrosive, and leaves lasting chloramine smell, which only leaves your holding tank smelling like a holding tank treated with chlorine. Peroxide's cheap.

For the rest of the cabin, ozone's wonderful, and so effective. One can buy an ozone generator kit (real simple) off of Ebay for about $35. You'll have mountain-fresh air after that. Read up on it though, that you don't breathe the ozone while the generator's treating your boat. Basically, turn on the ozone generator, leave the boat, close the hatch. Come back in a couple of hours, ventilate, and voila!
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Old 13-05-2015, 10:45   #11
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

No chlorine smell after a vinegar rinse and it kills mold too.
I'd be very reluctant to go the ozone route. Ozone deteriorates all your rubber seals, hoses and plastic wiring very quickly. There are also major health risks.
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Old 13-05-2015, 10:50   #12
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

Same with the engine area, clean lightly sand and roll on a coat of alkyd enamel.
Diesel stink, gone boat smells new again.
The solvents in the paint disappear in a couple of weeks.


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Old 13-05-2015, 10:51   #13
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

We tried a lot of sprays. Deodorants, bleach,Pinesol, vinegar, X-14, Janitor in a drum, windex, ammonia, 409, just about anything I could think of to avoid elbow grease. I tried these aromatic drops in the bilge. Fabric softeners.

In our case, there were also stains from previous incidents before our time. I chose to consider them rust. But no kind of mist we sprayed was going to remove deposits and stains.

Since the original source of the odor was still there, I don't think treating the air above it one time was going to be any kind of a solution in our particular case. That was kinda like spraying Right Guard on a day four armpit without showering first. Yeah, it did change the odor, somewhat. Gave it more depth. Some different tones and bouquet. What we had was strong chemical odors on top of holding tank odors. It wasn't until we scuffed the surface off and removed the source that the offensive odors went away. And we found the odors of the various compounds almost as annoying as the original odor.
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Old 13-05-2015, 10:52   #14
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

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No chlorine smell after a vinegar rinse and it kills mold too.

I'd be very reluctant to go the ozone route. Ozone deteriorates all your rubber seals, hoses and plastic wiring very quickly. There are also major health risks.

True that.
Ozone eats plastics, rubber, and not a great long lasting treatment.


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Old 13-05-2015, 16:21   #15
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Re: Holding Tank Decommissioned - How to Get Rid of Foul Smell

Same story here. Replaced the marine head with a "composter". However, over the years, the plywood bulkheads had picked up "head odor". We used _Odoban_ OdoBanĀ® - Odor Eliminator Products
Because the wood had taken up the smells it has necessitated several reapplications. As time passes the periods of reapplication, and the intensity of the smell, is getting better. During the first applications we attempted to soak the uncut Odoban into the plywood bulkheads. This resulted in a strong Odoban smell and no head smell. But over time all this has gotten better. I think the best thing would be to cut out the offending wood (bulkheads) and replace with new materials.
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