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Old 07-04-2017, 04:47   #1
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Waste treatment units?

Just wondering if anyone has a waste discharge treating unit such as the Raritan Electro Scan that treats the waste as it dumps overboard?

Trying to do some research regarding these treatment units to see if it is worth investing in.
Currently I have no holding tank installed but will have to look at putting one in when we do decide to cruise south, Caribbean, couple of years away yet but the preparation process has started.

I have a 31 ft boat so not a lot of space for a large holding tank, there was a one originally but removed. Figured that this unit would allow me to install a small space saver tank being that I could pump out without going to a pump out station all the time while inside the coastal zone.

So question is, Are they worth the cost/trouble,Will it pay for itself over time on saving on pump out cost and hassle?
Or am I just better off putting in the largest holding tank I can fit and accept the pump out routine?
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Old 07-04-2017, 05:48   #2
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Re: Waste treatment units?

They are not legal to use in no discharge areas in the states ! We have the 24 volt Electrosan. I know it is not the same as the Scan, but municipalities won't acknowledge any of them, unfortunately! If working properly the discharge is cleaner than what the muni's put out from their discharge systems.
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:23   #3
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Re: Waste treatment units?

great things for the bvi
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:45   #4
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Re: Waste treatment units?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike d. View Post
Tbut municipalities won't acknowledge any of them, unfortunately! If working properly the discharge is cleaner than what the muni's put out from their discharge systems.
That is the $25,000 question, when the local watercop wants to see your discharge valve sealed shut, will they accept its open, but you treat the waste?
I don't know that answer.
Then of course you avoid no discharge zones, but I don't think there are all that many.
Do they really save much space though?
I think most of us deal with pumpouts, and or pump out past three miles.

There is of course the desiccating head, but I don't know about them either, but bet it would save space
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Old 07-04-2017, 07:07   #5
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Re: Waste treatment units?

We have a Raritan Electrosan waste treatment system that works very well. Contrary to misinformation, this type was treatment system--a Type I MSD--does comport with the requirements and standards of the Clean Water Act and the US EPA's requirements. Never-the-less, No Discharge zones may prohibit their use. For more on the subject see (click on) "Problem or Solution". Despite the merit of the systems one does need a holding capacity if one is within an NDZ...

FWIW...
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Old 07-04-2017, 07:08   #6
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Re: Waste treatment units?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike d. View Post
If working properly the discharge is cleaner than what the muni's put out from their discharge systems.
That statement is at best intentionally misleading, and at worst wholy without basis. Probably just repeated from someone else who said the same thing without knowing, because it is what Raritan pushes.

The systems disinfect, they do NOT treat for suspended solids, biological oxygen demand, or nutrients. They simply bleach and stir.


EPA Summary Data (results in mg/L)
Annalyte After Treatment Result EPA Sewage Treatment Standard
BOD5 780 45
TSS 1,000 45
Fecal Coliform < 82 200 (swimming areas)

Nutrients. There is no mechanism to remove phosphorous (mass in, mass out), and about 50% of the ammonia is converted to nitrate, but the levels remain many times higher than average sewage (because there is less dilution water with the pee).


The data was quite variable, with standard deviations over 100%.

Typical raw sewage, as delivered to a sewage treatment plant is only about 200 ppm BOD, due to dilution with shower water and other low strength waste. Holding tank waste is considerably stronger due to reduced dilution.

https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyNET.exe/...es=1&ZyEntry=6

Does it matter? It's small beans and that is why pumping is legal 3 miles out. Just don't pump out in a harbor where people swim.

The reason for the post was simply accuracy. I hate bold statements that run contrary to established fact. Folks might believe them.
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Old 07-04-2017, 07:14   #7
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Re: Waste treatment units?

I've had two Electrasans on two different boats. They both worked pretty much as advertised and both (pardon the expression) crapped out after 10 years or so. The major problem I saw with this approach on a cruising boat is that the operation of the head becomes illegal when in a NDZ. If you sail in an area with few or no NDZs then that is not a problem. With a holding tank or composting toilet you have a means to manage the situation legally.

I replaced the Electrasan on my current boat with a compositing toilet 10 years ago, and have never regretted that decision.

The other main disadvantage of the Electrasans I had was they drew about 60A at 12VDC. Having to start the engine to flush the toilet was not a plus.

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Old 07-04-2017, 07:27   #8
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Re: Waste treatment units?

We had one in Florida. There are only three no-discharge zones in Florida, so it meant that we never had to pump out.

I hate using holding tanks, so I thought it was terrific, an excellent investment. Also, against the dreaded jackbooted Florida potty police, it worked like a crucifix works against vampires.


Why do I hate holding tanks? It's not just being a slave to pump outs, constantly watching the holding tank level and worrying about it, and the constant unpleasant job. It's bad for your black water system, not to pump lots and lots of water through it. Pumping lots and lots of water through your black water system keeps it clean and fresh, and prevents it from scaling up.

I say go for it, but with the caveat that they are not 100% reliable or hassle free. But for us it was definitely worth it.
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:16   #9
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Re: Waste treatment units?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
That is the $25,000 question, when the local watercop wants to see your discharge valve sealed shut, will they accept its open, but you treat the waste? . . .
We had many encounters with the Florida toilet-nazis. They seem to have been well-briefed on the Electra-San and we had no problems. And that was years ago.

Memories of all this are making me grateful again that I am not sailing there any more. There are no toilet police in Northern Europe. You pump wherever you want to on the tidal Atlantic coasts. It's legal. In the Northern Baltic, there are new rules limiting discharges in Sweden and Finland, but there is no enforcement, and besides that, the rules are not introduced without abundant pump out facilities being provided. They even having floating pumpouts in popular anchorages. Mostly free, or otherwise very cheap.
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:59   #10
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Re: Waste treatment units?

John[/QUOTE]
The other main disadvantage of the Electrasans I had was they drew about 60A at 12VDC. Having to start the engine to flush the toilet was not a plus.

Yes I read they would consume amperage and my thought was to use the holding tank to capacity and then engage the unit while engine running, definitely not for each head use.
So her is a question, could this unit be installed without a holding tank?
I can't see doing it with the risk of a failure.

As for space saving, guess what I save on the size of holding tank I loose WRT the treatment unit, probably never pay for itself as I'm sure there will be maintenance cost at some point, true value would be in convenience.

Funny how I first tried searching this topic on the forum and didn't get any hits but just came across a thread during web search from back in 2011, never could use that search tool properly.
seems to be favorable responses then and from this thread also so I think there is enough thumbs up for me to give some good thought to this system, still have quite a bit of time to decide.

Thanks folks for input, and Anyone with a 31ish length boat with this system in place, do you find it has saved you room or due to connections/hoses it actually ends up taking up more space?
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:02   #11
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Re: Waste treatment units?

Quote:
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.................... I hate bold statements that run contrary to established fact. Folks might believe them.
Or they might believe you. Your statement might be right of course, but so might the other statement. How would someone know?
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:07   #12
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Re: Waste treatment units?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstevens View Post
I've had two Electrasans on two different boats. They both worked pretty much as advertised and both (pardon the expression) crapped out after 10 years or so. The major problem I saw with this approach on a cruising boat is that the operation of the head becomes illegal when in a NDZ. If you sail in an area with few or no NDZs then that is not a problem................
Doesn't Raritan have a system that combines a treatment system with a holding tank so you can hold your sewage until it's legal to treat and dump it?

A "Hold and Treat" or something similar.

I will agree these systems use a lot of electrical power and have some maintenance requirements.
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:46   #13
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Re: Waste treatment units?

One of the differences between the old design Lectrasan and the new ElectroScan is the current consumption.
The ElectroScan monitors salt content and adjusts current through the treatment plates accordingly. It's kind of like a reverse MPPT solar controller in that respect.
Average battery current for an ElectroScan is around 35 amps for two minutes.
It works out to 1 amp hour per flush. How much does your anchor light use?

Between LiFePo4 battery bank, solar and ElectroScan, I never give the current consumption a thought.
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:47   #14
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Re: Waste treatment units?

"Doesn't Raritan have a system that combines a treatment system with a holding tank "

The original Electrasan had two holding sections for the two treatment processes, but on each flush the treated sewage in the 2nd section was discharged. The current systems may have incorporated a holding capacity. It certainly would be feasible to have a holding tank down stream of the Electrasan to hold the treated sewage when overboard discharge was illegal.

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Old 07-04-2017, 10:53   #15
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Re: Waste treatment units?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
Doesn't Raritan have a system that combines a treatment system with a holding tank so you can hold your sewage until it's legal to treat and dump it?

A "Hold and Treat" or something similar.

I will agree these systems use a lot of electrical power and have some maintenance requirements.
I thought the electroscan had a tank, that it held the waste in until I guess next flush, I'm thinking to sterilize it there has to be some dwell time?

For me so far the tank hasn't been as issue, the way my boat was made the only way to empty the tank was a pump out, tank full, no pump out, you have a real problem.
When I replaced the tank I added a second bung and a macerator, now I can pump my own tank when its legal to do so. I really didn't want to spend months sailing around the Caribbean with a half full waste tank.

Only time I can think it would be a pain is in the ICW or somewhere you can't discharge untreated waste.
Now I'm either in a Marina where there is a pump out boat, or out sailing where I can discharge.

For a saving space perspective on a small boat, and if money is an issue, I can see how a desiccating toilet would solve all the problems?
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