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Old 09-08-2014, 01:10 PM   #81
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Second the above posts questioning how the fuel got into the sight glass. Perhaps tank contents were sufficiently agitated by the filling process that some fuel made it down near lower sight tube valve. Is fill port near the sight tube?

Also suggest disconnecting pump suction line from tank while this cleaning is going on. Water can provided to pump suction from another source and then it can be determined if fuel made it into that system.

Also drain the water heater and check for fuel there.

I gather that alcohol acts as an emusifying agent. Might have to try a little bit in the shop. Maybe that is a good way to clean spilled fuel from a bilge??? I run into that often.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:15 PM   #82
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Good on the Yard. Fix it!
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:36 PM   #83
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Note, rwhatty never discussed how full the water tank was. Neither has it been determined how much fuel we are talking about. Nor was it discussed if the tank was overflowed w diesel.
Actually, the OP said "(the [120 gallon] tank had been half full when we went into the yard) still showed one half full of clear water. But the whole top half of the sight tube was now filled with a REDDISH colored liquid."

So, even though the gauge might be non-linear, I read that as 60 gallons of water before the fuel was introduced. And if the gauge was "on" at the top (connected to the atmosphere) and bottom (connected to the tank), then there would be a corresponding 60ish gallons of fuel in the tank (before it would overflow via the vent or sight gauge).

But sight gauges can be tricky. The OP's gauge might have read 60 gallons but been "off" at the bottom - and there could have been anywhere from 0 to 120 gallons of water in that tank. If it was actually empty, then when the yard worker went to "check the level" he might have turned it "on" and emptied the sight tube into the empty tank. Add the fuel, and there you go. You'd still have to get the original (assumed) 60 gallons back into the tank.

Or we can just go with the ninja fuel that dynamically changes specific gravity. I'm open-minded enough to believe that might be possible.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:59 PM   #84
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So, you've never seen a sight tube connected top AND bottom? I am scratching my head at a 'bottom only' open to atmosphere on top. I don't recall ever seeing one like that. At least professionally installed.

Two discrepancies don't make one right. The fuel tanks started at 1/4 each. The water was at 1/2.

When finished the fuel was 1/4 1/4 and water tank miraculously full of fuel ( and water ). There is a misreading of tanks somewhere. This is why I initially assumed 'someone' (either intentionally or by mistake) filled the water tank with fuel.

I'm not do inclined to believe in miracles ( or breaking the laws of physics) as an explanation. Just the skeptic in me I guess ☔️
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:16 PM   #85
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So, you've never seen a sight tube connected top AND bottom? I am scratching my head at a 'bottom only' open to atmosphere on top. I don't recall ever seeing one like that. At least professionally installed.
Ah, fair enough - I was picturing my fuel gauges, which were professionally installed but are remoted to put them in one place - they are vented to the atmosphere with another set of valves. Normally my gauges are "off" because a failure in a sight tube could drain the tank into the bilge, but I can certainly imagine other configurations.

So...OK, now I can see that - if the gauge were connected top and bottom, then sure, fuel could have entered the top of the gauge when the tank level reached that, or maybe when the top sloshed around.

My water tanks sight gauges, though - no, they don't go back into the tank - they extend above the level of the tank and are open to the atmosphere. And that's actually how I know my tanks are full - when the water comes out of the top and the bilge pump comes on!
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:18 PM   #86
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It must be embarassing for the yard....glad they are standing up. We'll be watching.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:21 PM   #87
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I've seen sight glasses with the top open to atmosphere but never on a boat. If the tank overfills you don't want the contents in the bilge, even if it is only water. Or a full tank in heavy seas could also spill out the top of the sight tube.
Good mental exercise figuring this one out.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:24 PM   #88
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My water tanks sight gauges, though - no, they don't go back into the tank - they extend above the level of the tank and are open to the atmosphere. And that's actually how I know my tanks are full - when the water comes out of the top and the bilge pump comes on!
That's one way to keep your bilges clean!!!
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:30 PM   #89
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Actually, hats off to rwhatty for COMPLETELY vetting his boat prior to use ( whether post shipyard or not)!

Imagine the different circumstances IF he had departed the shipyard unknowing, and returned the next (day, week, month) and complained then!!
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:52 PM   #90
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If the tank is metal it can be cleaned by just washing it out VERY thoroughly with plenty of detergent and water. Bit if it's a plastic water tank, it'll have to be replaced, 'cuz any petroleum product will permeate it and damage the tank. Yes, there are plastic fuel tanks, but plastic fuel tanks must be CROSS LINKED polyethylene, which is not the same as the LINEAR PE that's use to make water and waste tanks...petroleum can actually dissolve linear PE.

Hope you haven't run the water pump...'cuz if the oil or fuel got into the plumbing, it'll have to be replaced too.

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Old 09-08-2014, 03:18 PM   #91
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I agree with Peggie, but as I said back on page one, why should you have to accept a cleaning?

Sorry but I want a new tank, regardless if they think they can clean it or not. I don't want to be a test case as to how well their ideas work as to cleaning my water tank.

We freaking DRINK from that tank and I don't want it cleaned I want it replaced.

They can use my old one to store their scotch in it if they want to but I don't and would not accept it cleaned.

You did nothing wrong why should you not be returned to whole???

Where were you guys when I was building million dollar homes? I replaced carpet when soiled by idiot workers, I guess you guys would be OK if I just cleaned it.

Right!
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Old 09-08-2014, 03:23 PM   #92
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It's a stainless steel tank.
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Old 09-08-2014, 03:56 PM   #93
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Deep breath now ------

The SS tank will be fine, as previously stated it is the plumbing that will suffer if diesel got that far. Most water tanks though have an accumulation of silt and other deposits on the bottom, that stuff may retain a taste and odor - thus it should be removed too.

Years ago I was at a street party on the Kyrgyz Kazak border where beer was being served from a 250 gallon wagon pulled by a small truck. I asked one of my friends what the Cyrillic word on the side of the tank said, "Diesel Fuel" was his answer. The beer was flat and warm but much better than the fermented horse milk I drank from time to time, served from goatskin gourds.

Whatty and his neighbor will figure this out, but maybe as Paul Harvey was heard to say, "Now for the rest of the story."
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:22 PM   #94
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My wife just reminded me that we have "lost" about 50 gallons of fuel. We should at least have that amount (if not maybe even a complete fill up) credited to our yard bill when we go to fill up at the yard's fuel dock Wednesday. I will raise that very valid point tomorrow.

I also told the service manager I would be satisfied with the remediation job when: a) he drank a large glass of water out of the tap after running tank water through the pipes for awhile and b) a water test for hydrocarbons came back negative. He tried to hedge on the drinking test by saying he'd like it with Bourbon. Ixnay.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:40 PM   #95
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I also told the service manager I would be satisfied with the remediation job when: a) he drank a large glass of water out of the tap after running tank water through the pipes for awhile and b) a water test for hydrocarbons came back negative. He tried to hedge on the drinking test by saying he'd like it with Bourbon. Ixnay.
Since it is a metal tank, I would drink water out of said tank after it had been cleaned and the water test had come back negative. BUT, there has to be a but, , I would want to pull a test from the water tank as well as each and every faucet on the boat. A line to the ice maker needs a test as well. Any fresh water line that you could possibly drink out of should be tested and that includes the shower head.

Once the tests come back, see if he will let his momma drink the water.

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Old 09-08-2014, 05:50 PM   #96
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I wonder if the water system with even a half a**ed cleaning would introduce as much diesel into your body for the next 30 years as one good old mouthful from a bad siphoning job...

I'm not saying don't try and make it right...or that the taste may stink for awhile...but I really wonder what "danger" there is after a reasonable cleaning job.

I think someone posted about the 'sky is falling"....

And yes...get the money for the diesel and a few other freebies...this you have earned!!
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:09 PM   #97
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Deep breath now ------

The SS tank will be fine, as previously stated it is the plumbing that will suffer if diesel got that far. Most water tanks though have an accumulation of silt and other deposits on the bottom, that stuff may retain a taste and odor - thus it should be removed too.

Eggs-actilly


SS is perfectly capable of being thoroughly cleaned and is ideal for these kind of scenarios. Had David's tank been made from one of the popular(read here cheap) plastics it would have been a whole different kettle of fish. You folks would absolutely cringe and vomit if you had half an idea the variety of cargoes carried inside those SS bulk tanker semi trucks you pass along the highway going to and from the boat.

Hint: It was not very long ago when a law was passed to no longer allow hauling liquid pesticides/fertilizers and food products in the same trailer with a simple driver performed, untested rinsing between loads.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:17 PM   #98
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Greetings,
As far as the cleaning and testing goes, I would suggest an immediate lab test after the yard does their thing AND another test after say a week or two after the water has been sitting in the system for a while.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:32 PM   #99
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I've seen sight glasses with the top open to atmosphere but never on a boat. If the tank overfills you don't want the contents in the bilge, even if it is only water. Or a full tank in heavy seas could also spill out the top of the sight tube.
Well, what's the "approved" method for venting water tanks? Flooding out the deck fill isn't a great solution if contaminants can get back in, and I'm not really thrilled about additional hull or deck penetrations. I think my old Romsdal had them vented to the self-draining cockpit, and I could rig that on my current vessel (which also has a self-draining fishing cockpit), but my other previous boats...I really can't recall how they were vented.

My water system isn't well designed and I've been meaning to re-plumb everything (perhaps even this off season), so I'm all ears. I have about 400 gallons split between 4 tanks - two under the midships cabin, and two in what was the fishing hold under the after deck. The midships tanks are well below the waterline, but the aft ones are about at that level. I drain from the aft ones forward - and cross tank between the pairs - to help manage my trim.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:33 PM   #100
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You folks would absolutely cringe and vomit if you had half an idea the variety of cargoes carried inside those SS bulk tanker semi trucks you pass along the highway going to and from the boat.
The yard told me that a goodly amount of sediment and vegetative matter made its appearance during the initial flushing process.
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