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Old 11-13-2015, 10:31 AM   #21
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Composting toilets? No thanks. I scoop enough of my cats poop. A human litter box sounds disgusting. That said they do seem to be popular with sailors. I'm not sure that reflects well on sailors.
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:01 PM   #22
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Richard, did you figure out if the Purasan tablets are the same as swimming pool chlorine tablets?
I'm not Richard, but I can answer your question: The answer is yes..AND no.

There are FIVE types of chlorine used in swimming pool tablets: Sodium hypochlorite, Lithium hypochlorite, Calcium hypochlorite, Dichlor, and Trichlor. Sodium, Lithium, and Calcium are un-stabilized chlorine. Dichlor and Trichlor are stabilized. Stabilized chlorines have Cyanuric Acid which acts as a type of sunblock for the Chlorine. The sun will break down Chlorine causing it to burn off quicker; Cyanuric Acid slows this process down. Therefore, Dichlor and Trichlor are used in outdoor pools as pucks/tablets. Because indoor pools do not need to worry about the sun, they usually use the other 3.

NEVER combine different types of chlorine or mix chlorine with other chemicals including other pool chemicals! The result can be fire, explosion or toxic gasses.

PuraSan tablets are unstablized calcium hypochlorite. But there's more to it than just the type of chlorine: strength, which, like most products, varies with quality...the rate at which tablet dissolves--iow, how much should be carried into the treatment tank with flush, and amount of available chlorine (AC), which is the amount of chlorine released in the water to disinfect. Too little, the waste isn't treated....too much can damage the system. How can you know whether the device is actually treating...how completely or not? Do you have a means of determining whether a swimming pool puck is delivering exactly the same amount with each flush as the Raritan tablet? That the strength of both is the same?

Every USCG certified Type I or II MSD unit produced must be IDENTICAL in every way to the "sample" submitted by the mfr for certification...that includes any chemical used with it--it must deliver exactly the same amount with each flush. Devices must be re-certified every 5 years...or sooner if, for instance, the mfr changes the chemical or even the supplier. So using a chemical NOT certified for use with the PuraSan voids your unit as a legal Type I...the odds of getting caught is not for discussion here, except to say that a lack of any other concern is a major part of the enviro lobby against treatment.

Fwiw, Raritan did change the type of chlorine a couple of years ago...eliminating the need--and expense!--of HAZMAT shipping for the cartridges.

Hope that answers your question, Parks...
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:17 PM   #23
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I have new electrascan systems that were installed in our boat just before I acquired it. They seem to work fine, but I do get low voltage messages often. So I have some work to do.
On the NDZ issue, have any of you had experience with the compost systems? From the reviews I have seen they seem much more positive than I would have expected.
Based on your location, I suspect you just need to clean sea water mineral buildup off the electrodes...that buildup insulates them, causing a low voltage indicator. See your owners manual for cleaning instructions (you don't have to take anything apart!).

As for composters...the popular models--the AirHead and Nature's Head--aren't true composters, they're dessicators. Urine is collected separately in jugs that cannot LEGALLY be poured overboard inside the "3 mile limit," which means they must be taken ashore and poured down a toilet somewhere. Most of the people who love 'em might not be so fond 'em if they actually did that.
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:33 PM   #24
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A lot of very good information here.
Virtually everyone is right based on my experience.

Thanks for the analysis of the "pool" tablets. Good to know and know I do have an answer. Though I think Raritan is still selling the hazmat version. You must tell them when ordering that you need the non hazmat version.

My 4 gal brine tank did last a while, 4 or 5 days, maybe more. A more accurate measure is that I used a 40 lb bag of salt over two months with three people on boat.

The problem I had, also mentined above, was the brine tank not turning off, thus running fresh water constantly.

SO then I put valve on fresh water intake, but then I had to check it every few days and even at that, had to re-prime pump too much.

Low amps is a typical warning. and it can occur is you flush too often!. As there is not sufficient time for salt tablets to dissolve with intake of new fresh water.

Only at the very end, did I find that the easiest and most effective ways to clean, flush processing tank is to run very hot water thru it. Toilets and tank flush much better after that. I also do that whenever I would leave boat for any length of time, even a few days.
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:52 PM   #25
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...low amps is a typical warning. and it can occur is you flush too often!. As there is not sufficient time for salt tablets to dissolve with intake of new fresh water.

I don't know of a single salt feed system that uses salt tablets...you should be using granular salt...Kosher salt dissolves best when used in a brine tank or added manual manually each flush--two coffee measures is easier than 4 tablespoons. There is a salt tank that's loaded with about 10 lbs of rock salt...solar salt is recommended for use in it. But NOT tablets!
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:43 PM   #26
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Read California state discharge regs, cannot be used in harbor or Anchorage.
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Old 11-13-2015, 03:49 PM   #27
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Read California state discharge regs, cannot be used in harbor or Anchorage.
Steve, can you provide a link?

The reason is that I researched this and the EPA governs NDZ's and their web site shows all the current NDZ's in California.

There is a statewide NDZ but is is only for ships 300 tons and larger.
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:00 PM   #28
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The Purasan tablets also have a bit of Bromine (i.e. ~1% 1-bromo-3-chloro-5,5-dimethylhylhydantoin) in them, something not in normal pool chlorination tablets. I thought about using the pool tablets in our Purasan since we have a pool, but the Raritan tablets are not that expensive at about $65 for six tablets, giving ~300 flushes. That works out to be about 22 cents per flush, so I tell guests to leave a quarter on the vanity. ;-)

For those who cannot find the voltage and amperage specifications on Raritan's products, the current manuals on their website all have those specs. The older LectraSan's required 50 amps of current while maintaining 11+ volts, while Electra Scan's only require 37 amps. I think people sometimes forget about the draw of other devices like electric toilets and/or macerators that are on the same circuit and end up with higher than planned circuit draws. That certainly was the case with the person who installed the LectraSan on our boat, though he did not even use a sufficient wire gage for the LectraSan by itself.
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:17 PM   #29
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My problem was not at dock... but in the morning when the batteries had been draining all night and no supplemental charging when using the unit.

I could be wrong and it may have been low voltage...but I don't think so. Either way...it's BS that a battery bank in good condition at 70 percent charge would get that warning. Fits with my complaint that the unit is marginal in 33ppt salinity also.
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:27 PM   #30
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Thanks Peggie! Great information. I'll know what to say next time a customer complains about the price of the tablets.
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Old 11-13-2015, 06:22 PM   #31
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Steve, can you provide a link?

The reason is that I researched this and the EPA governs NDZ's and their web site shows all the current NDZ's in California.

There is a statewide NDZ but is is only for ships 300 tons and larger.
ABCs of California Boating Law prohibits treated discharge in any marina , yacht harbor , freshwater lake or impondment where acess to other facilities are available of treated waste. So all marinas are required to provide toilets, yacht harbors with mooring as well, all fresh water reservoirs have public restrooms available, many on the floats. So rivers and some anchorages are open but not many.
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Old 11-13-2015, 07:37 PM   #32
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ABCs of California Boating Law prohibits treated discharge in any marina , yacht harbor , freshwater lake or impondment where acess to other facilities are available of treated waste. So all marinas are required to provide toilets, yacht harbors with mooring as well, all fresh water reservoirs have public restrooms available, many on the floats. So rivers and some anchorages are open but not many.
Thanks Steve

I downloaded and read the section regarding sewage on page 52 and it seems reasonable. It says that you cannot discharge treated sewage if you are tied to a warf, or dock that has restrooms available. I have no challenge with that, as discharge of even treated sewage is in violation of most marinas moorage agreement.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:53 PM   #33
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State law also prohibits dumping any human waste (treated or untreated) in a marina, yacht harbor, fresh water lake, or fresh
water impoundment from any vessel tied to any dock, slip or wharf that has
toilet facilities available for the use of people on the vessel

There's nothing in that to prohibit the discharge of treated waste in ANY harbor or anchorage...only in marinas, so-called "yacht harbors" (however those may differ from marinas) and fresh water "impoundments"/lakes, which is no different from federal law.

...as discharge of even treated sewage is in violation of most marinas moorage agreement.

Which only serves to show how few marina operators know that the discharge from a Type I is actually MUCH cleaner than the water in ANY marina.
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Old 11-14-2015, 06:53 AM   #34
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Show total landlubber mentality.

Ask them to walk through their neighborhood in the middle of the cold, rainy night to go to the bathroom.

Till marinas provide some kind of pumpout the can be done in your slip....that law holds little weight for me while the town (like Monteal) is doing far less to keep the water clean. Most boatowners want the water cleaner than the landlubbers anyhow and would be happy to contribute to installing proper pumpout options if it made a difference.

Maybe California has a clue...but too much of the rest of the world sure doesnt.
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Old 11-14-2015, 10:17 AM   #35
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"Maybe California has a clue" Last one out turn the light out !
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:52 AM   #36
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The conundrum just got way worse.

We decided, after reading all the above, that we should ditch the old unit and if we decide we want treatment, go with a new one. I asked a friend who is doing a low-budget refit on a recently purchased old trawler if he would like to have it since he is very handy and can overhaul it in his garage. He said he would come out and take a look. He did while I was deep in the complex installation of our rebuilt bowsprit and windlass. I went below for a tool and he was already taking it out of the boat. He had all the electronics and the salt unit removed. The next time I was able to go down and pay attention, he was realizing that it was full and he couldn't disconnect any hose without dumping sewage into the bilge.

What to do now? Is there any way to evacuate this thing without a bucket brigade and a boat that smells for days?

We are currently using the holding tank. Our system is set up with a "Y" valve to the tank and to the Lectrasan. The head is an electric macerator, fresh water flush, and above the waterline. There is a vented loop in the line from the Lectrasan to the discharge seacock as the unit is below the waterline in the engine room.

Since the contents of the Lectrasan are presumably treated and we will be in a place where we can discharge on the way to the pump out at a different marina, is there anyway to hot wire the Lectrason enough to empty the hoses and the unit sufficiently to remove it without making me very unpopular with the crew?

If we just turn the "Y" valve to the Lectrasan and run the head, will it push enough fresh water through the unit to get it reasonably clean for removal?
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:02 AM   #37
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Maybe yes may be no...that's how it is supposed to work. The unit does not pump...it will free flow through just by flushing if not clogged in any way.

If not add some bleach and dump it.

Or better like I learned a long time ago...I use my older bucket buddy shop vac ( the kind at the big box stores where you just buy the head) with an old 5 gallon bucket that is used for only head and bilge water. I put a few ounces of bleach in first and suck away. Whether clogged toilet, hose, etc.

Then just dump in marina head.
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:44 AM   #38
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"What to do now?"

Wait till MIDNIGHT.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:12 AM   #39
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Remove the cover and shpp vac the tank. Or Cut the waste hoses and plug them with tapered plugs, remove the tank to a flush toilet and drain the contents. It's only a couple of gallons.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:57 AM   #40
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Scary hit it, when replumbing your blackwater you will want to replace your hoses. Remove the hoses at the toilet, plug em and haul Lectroscans and hoses all at once. Much easier and more pleasant to deal with on the hard present and future than losing it in the bilge.
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