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Old 02-07-2021, 11:44   #16
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Re: plumbing broken -- underway on delivery voyage

If it had to be done, that’s how we would do it...a hose or a tube within a much larger tube...which could be any extrusion shape...square or rectangle. If you had a leak in the tank, you would see it coming out an end. Maybe we got the layout wrong but when you have only one “layer”, of protection, there is a risk of contamination going unnoticed.
Our tanks do not cross from one side to the other and there is space above the tanks for inspection plates which are raised up one inch. The belly tank of diesel which lies between the twin keels has a double bottom to resist puncturing much like new tankers. If the hull is punctured, and not the tank above it, I’ll be able to know. Our regulat water tanks are integral to the hull but again separated from the fuel and were epoxy lined. We have two “emergency “ plastic water tanks in the event something splits open both a water and a fuel tank on the same side.
I’ve often thought about contamination from our hydronic system into the hot water tank even though that coil is 316 stainless and no exposed welds. Maybe there is some sort of fluorescent dye I could add to the hydronic fluid which would show up if we had pin hole leak. Diesel fuel in your drinking water is bad but engine antifreeze, not the drinking water kind, accumulates inside you and can easily kill you. I think there were some threads on this.
My manatee crew insists our emergency provisions for ocean voyages must consist of a sufficient quantity of beer for a month ...just for this reason.
Their consistent “sampling” is now called “safety equipment check “ time.
Born naked, sail naked, never drink the ship’s water. What a crew.
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:45   #17
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Re: plumbing broken -- underway on delivery voyage

Quote:
Originally Posted by niftyc View Post
The first few days of owning this boat are turning out to be more exciting than I was hoping. We bought a 63' custom steel trawler-style boat in Northern Canada and have hired a delivery captain to import it into the USA via the St. Lawrence. Short story: The delivery captain is reporting all drains are backing up and we are trying to figure out what to do. I am not aboard and I am communicating with the delivery captain by phone. I am wondering if anyone has ideas to help me problem-solve this.

Whole story:

The boat has been stored on the hard for three years. Prior to departure seller was to fill water tanks, empty the waste tank. When the delivery captain arrived on the day of departure, he noticed the shower pan in the aft head was filled with debris. Oily sludge, luckily odorless. Big surprise: The freshwater tank was empty, the waste tank was full. The freshwater tank had apparently drained into the waste tank over the past few days. None of the faucets were open. The seller sent out a plumber.

The boat has integral steel tanks with the water forward, then the fuel, then waste aft. There is no grey water tank.

The plumber checked faucets and lines (several hours) and reported that they were fine but the freshwater tank was plumbed THROUGH the waste tank. A sloped stainless steel feed line runs from the water tanks forward THROUGH the fuel tank, then the waste tank, kind of bisecting them, to the water pump in the engine room aft. (I am not a plumber but this sure seems like a bad idea.)

As all other faucets and lines checked out, his conclusion was that this feed line must have failed INSIDE the waste tank, explaining the drain from water tank to waste tank. He cut out this pipe and indeed found a hairline crack. He replaced with hydraulic hose, his recommendation.

Our delivery captain got underway. He is now calling me about 70 nm downstream from Montreal. He reports all drains are blocked and everything comes up in the aft shower pan (the lowest drain). He has a shop vac, plumbing snake, buckets, bleach, and a plunger aboard.

Plunger did not do much. He tried to remove material from the drain with the shop vac. He got some out but he found that the stuff coming up looked very old and dense and dried out. After a while he found nothing else came up from the drain, but it was still plugged. He next tried the plumbing snake but found "something very hard." Not sure if he's hit a bend or a blockage. He is now trying putting hot water down the drain, letting it soak, cool -- then vacuuming it out and repeating.

My thinking was that he should put in at Montreal for assistance but I have not encountered this situation before so don't know what assistance to ask for. Just call a plumber?

I'm also thinking that the issue is likely that the winterization was improperly done for the waste and water tanks. Northern Canada is very cold and freezing in the water lines and waste tank could explain this. The old material is evidence that the waste tank was left sitting with waste in it, it should have been emptied for winter.

All of the metals on the boat have alloy rings that allow welding with dissimilar metals so I am not suspecting electrolysis. The stainless steel pipe had these rings on it.

Waste plumbing is PVC, except the stainless steel feed line to the pump (with one part of that line now replaced by hydraulic hose).

I have done quite a bit of reading on this and other forums about plumbing issues aboard but it would be helpful if anyone has been in this situation and has ideas. Also it would be good to know if my "poor winterization" theory "holds water" (ha ha) or if this sounds like some other problem.

Have delivery captain pump out the waste tanks and see if the water level goes down.
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Old 03-07-2021, 06:27   #18
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Re: plumbing broken -- underway on delivery voyage

Maybe try some regular white vinegar down the lines. Amazing what $2.00 of it can do sometimes.
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Old 03-07-2021, 07:17   #19
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Re: plumbing broken -- underway on delivery voyage

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Originally Posted by Manateeman View Post
...A delivery captain doesn’t need to take a shower, do laundry or wash dishes. He can pee over the side and buy a bucket, some peat moss and a big roll of trash bags...
You must be a fun guy to work for
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:43   #20
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Re: plumbing broken -- underway on delivery voyage

I had a bet with my manatee crew about how long it would take someone to post in caps “SAY WHAT ??” We laughed till it hurt.
Now you are not going to believe this, but a fellow Captain actually had a delivery on a yacht where he had to change ALL of his clothes and was handed a box of tyvek suits and booties and was told not to enter the galley or use the head.
He threatened to anchor and go for a swim if he felt the biological need.
The owners suggested the bucket and peat moss. Honest.
None of my crew “works” for me. They just live here, eat, snore and offgas.
Happy trails to you
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Old 03-07-2021, 13:21   #21
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Re: plumbing broken -- underway on delivery voyage

Thanks for your suggestions. Just to be clear -- the waste tank was emptied after the first broken pipe problem, so the second problem (not draining/clogs) does not come from a full waste tank.

An update: Capt. reports A LOT of the hot water treatment has cleared the aft head, including sink and shower, plus the galley sink. The forward head still blocked.

This has me scratching my head as I am not on the boat and I had previously imagined all of the plumbing going aft, linking together, and there being one clog affecting all heads. But apparently it is multiple clogs? Still -- having one head is a considerable relief.

Thank you all again for your advice.
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Old 03-07-2021, 17:25   #22
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Re: plumbing broken -- underway on delivery voyage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manateeman View Post
A delivery captain doesn’t need to take a shower, do laundry or wash dishes.
He can pee over the side and buy a bucket, some peat moss and a big roll of trash bags.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobnlesley View Post
You must be a fun guy to work for
Well, Bob,

At the beginning of June, I was hired for a relatively short sailboat delivery and discovered the afternoon before departure that the new Jabsco head's outlet hose had a significant leak and not enough time to procure repacement parts and repair, meaning that we would be using a bucket during the entire trip. (I don't allow people to pee over the side. Don't want to complicate my deliveries with MOBs.)

We used a bucket.

A PIA, yes, but boat delivered on time without incident.

+1 for Captain Mark and his manatee crew
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Old 03-07-2021, 19:31   #23
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Re: plumbing broken -- underway on delivery voyage

Incidentally, if one has a stainless steel mixing bowl, it will fit under the seat of the toilet, and can be used to capture and dispose of whatever comes into it. It is easy to sterilize. There are times when working out use of a bucket in a seaway can be challenging, mainly lurchy motion. Get the skipper to heave the boat to, and it will be easier.

Ann
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Old 09-07-2021, 12:12   #24
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Re: plumbing broken -- underway on delivery voyage

I have had a similar problem on occasion and it is because of a check valve stuck open. This generally occurs when the boat is unused for a while, but not necessarily right away upon using. Rubber hammer on the valve, in a 2.5 inch steel pipe usually feees it up, or the Admiral doing several loads of wash.
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Old 16-07-2021, 06:55   #25
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Re: plumbing broken -- underway on delivery voyage

The end of this story: We completed the delivery voyage with only one working head. After our delivery voyage was completed with a little more time I managed to unblock all of the many independent clogs in every part of the waste system using warm water and enzymatic treatment over several days.

More plumbing notes now that I have sat with it a while:

There is no discharge at all, and no sump. Everything goes in the black tank.

I wonder if the small air vent is part of the problem, it is only 1/2" and if it were clogged with bird poop or something this wouldn't help. It is open to the sky and seems like a nice place for a bird to sit.

There is a DIY-looking valve just aft of the forward head and I wonder if there were problems with odor. Seems like traps would prevent this problem but maybe there aren't any?

Almost all of the plumbing is metal so I don't see myself tearing it out and starting over. I'm hoping I can baby it back to health. I still think there was some sort of backpressure scenario where all of the lines were filled with stuff. Perhaps combined with poor maintenance and no winterization.

Thank you for all of these ideas and for helping me to talk this out!
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