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Old 03-19-2019, 04:39 PM   #1
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Heads Pong

We need help, our heads, electric flush, pongs every time it is flushed unless it is flushed continually ie at least ten time a day.
Have tried most commercially (marine store) tank chemicals to no long term benefit.
Any suggestions please.
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Old 03-19-2019, 04:43 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr 23. Pongs?





Do you mean it blocks up? Sorry. Some words don't travel well...
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Old 03-19-2019, 04:47 PM   #3
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No does not block (normally!!!!) just pongs seems to come back from holding tank
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Old 03-19-2019, 04:57 PM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. 23. I had to look up the word...


pong

noun

an unpleasant smell. Australian, British, and New Zealand slang.


Depending on the make and type of toilet it may be a bad duck valve. Just a WAG (wild a$$ guess)
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:20 PM   #5
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You need a book by our esteemed member "The Headmistress",aka Peggie Hall, who knows about everything about boat dunnies(another Aussie word). She may chime in, otherwise,try searching.
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:39 PM   #6
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You might change the name of the thread to something more recognizable in the US so that it will get Peggies attention. I didnít understand what pong meant either.
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:43 PM   #7
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You say it smells when you flush it. Is it a seawater flush unit or freshwater flush? Where are you smelling the odor, inside by the head or outside of the boat?
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:23 PM   #8
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Thanks Dave, but I've had the pleasure of helping enough folks "down under" in the last 20 years to know what "pong" means. But have a bunch of questions that need answers before I can offer any advice:

You said "ourheads" (plural), electric flush, pongs every time it (singular) is flushed..." So how many do you have?? If more than one, do both "pong" or just one?

Do/does your heads/head use sea water or onboard fresh water?

You said the odor seems to be coming back from the holding tank..Are/is your toilet "burping" or showing any other symptoms that there's back pressure from the tank?


Do the discharge line(s) from your toiles run uphill, downhill or fairly level?


And finally...make/model/approx age of your toilet(s)?

To follow up on Bruce's suggestion...my signature includes a link to my current book. It won't cost you anything to check it out. If you decide it does, I suggest you order it from Amazon.au instead of the US site shown in my signature.

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Old 03-29-2019, 01:04 PM   #9
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Your holding tank line vent is blocked causing "gas belch" back through the head. The odor filter probably got wet or crud has built up in the lines from overfill. Not a hard fix if you can trace the vent line to the through hull (generally just under rub rail high as possible above the water line).
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:56 PM   #10
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He mentions flushing the toilet "10 x day" to clear the odor. If his tank vent were blocked he'd have had either a burst tank or, if he's lucky, backups in his toilet every time he flushes. But his only complaint is odor. So I think that pretty much rules out a blocked tank vent.

He doesn't mention odor out the tank vent either...the odor is emanating from the toilet. So my best guess is that he has a sea water toilet and has pulled in some type of animal or vegetable sea life that's died and is decaying in his toilet intake line or the channel in the rim of the bowl. Unfortunately he's never been back since his first and only post 10 days ago (maybe he took my suggestion to check out my book and found the answers he needed it?), so unless he shows up again we'll never know.


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Old 03-29-2019, 06:04 PM   #11
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If the filter or vent line is blocked there will not be odor on the outside of the boat. I have had this issue numerous times and always traced it back to venting. I did fish a canvas (drug) bag out of a holding tank once.
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Old 03-29-2019, 06:43 PM   #12
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Hi all and thanks for your help we have one only toilet flushed with salt water. the unit is a THC with and electric flush/macerater which is about 2 years old.
The discharge from the holding tank is pretty much straight down hill to the through hull fitting via a ball valve. I can confirm we do not have a blocked breather as last week when the holding tank was full it discharged freely through the breather.
I do not have a charcoal filter on the breather line however or STINK problem is on pumping the toilet.
My holding tank is generally dumped/cleared after every trip prior to returning to the marina.
I have tried using various chemical products to no avail.
I really hope this helps.
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Old 03-29-2019, 07:15 PM   #13
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Peggie- can you pour anything into the seawater strainer that feeds this head to kill whatever is in there?
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:00 PM   #14
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I have flushed the full system through with spirits of salt recently
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:58 PM   #15
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Peggie- can you pour anything into the seawater strainer that feeds this head to kill whatever is in there?
By the time you notice the odor from trapped marine life, it's already dead and decomposing. Pull the strainer and clean it with plenty of detergent and water. Then, after you replace it, run a bucket of water laced with a quart of distilled white vinegar through the system.

If the strainer isn't in a location that doesn't allow removing it to clean it, it was installed in the wrong location. Because strainers commonly become clogged with sea weed and other veggies--and sometimes sea critters--they should always be installed in a location above the waterline that's accessible to remove and clean 'em. And if you have an electric macerating toilet it's especially important that you do check and clean on a regular basis and pay attention to the amount of flush water coming into the toilet ..'cuz clogged strainers can really reduce the amount of flush water, causing the motor to work harder and can even "fry" impellers if it reduces it enough.

If there is no strainer, disconnect the toilet intake line from the thru-hull ('twould prob'ly be a good idea to close the seacock first) and stiick into a bucket of water laced with a quart of distilled white vinegar. Flush the whole bucketful through the system. If you're seeing black flecks in the bowl, it's possible that something has made it all the way into the channel in the rime of the bowl. If flushing out the whole intake and pump doesn't get rid of 'em, it may be necessary to remove the bowl and set it on the dock to blast the channel out with a hose.

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Old 03-29-2019, 10:27 PM   #16
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I have flushed the full system through with spirits of salt recently
Hi Phil...welcome back! "Spirits of salt" isn't a product name I've heard before, so it must be something we know by a different name in the US. Till I know what's in it, I can't comment on whether it should have done any good or not.

If there's NO odor out the vent when you flush, it's unlikely that the tank is source...although I will suggest that you replace what you're using with No-Flex Digestor Noflex Digestor which is a Canadian product that is available in Oz. I suggest that you first pump out and thoroughly flush out your tank to get rid of all the residue from the chemicals you've been using that don't work. Flush No-Flex down the toilet according to directions and continue to use according to directions. No other product should be needed. And you might consider putting a tank level indicator on your tank to prevent overflowing out the vent--something that will result in a blocked vent if you continue to do that.

I also recommend that you replace the joker valve--the rubber cupshaped valve in the toilet discharge fitting (see attached photo)...It's a one way valve that when new, the slit closes tight, but as it becomes worn the slit stretches and can no longer close...over time can even become just a hole that's allowing odor from the tank to escape into the toilet. Should be replaced annually.

If you continue to have odor after using it, the flush water intake is almost certain to be the source. See my reply to Gmarr above for the best way to deal with that.


If all of that still hasn't solved your problem, I'll help you keep looking till we do!


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Old 03-30-2019, 12:09 AM   #17
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Hi Peggie we are in your debt for your help its getting close to my wife who loves the boat having had enough!!!!!!!!!


Spirits of Salts is HCL Hydrochloric Acid which is wonderful for removing scale and calcite build up
I doubt we have ingested a fish or other living thing as except when we are fully loaded with fuel and water which is very rare our through hull is a couple of inches above the water line.
My bowl to holding tank etc is certified hose and all new however I do get some black stuff via the salt water intake hose to the toilet when we have been sitting for a while however this clears after one 10 second flush.
I am unsure what the holding tank to overflow outlet hose is as it cannot be seen, I will check this out plus try to procure Noflex Digester and run that through then report back to you.
Thanks very much again
Phil
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Old 03-30-2019, 12:53 AM   #18
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Vague memory from High School was "spirit of salts" = hydrochloric acid or the dilute "muriatic acid". I`m sure Peggie will comment, it could be too aggressive for head working parts incl the joker valve. Can you bypass the tank using a Y valve and give the non tank parts a good flush? Seawater that sits gets stinky.
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Old 03-30-2019, 06:23 AM   #19
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I doubt we have ingested a fish or other living thing as except when we are fully loaded with fuel and water which is very rare our through hull is a couple of inches above the water line.
My bowl to holding tank etc is certified hose and all new however I do get some black stuff via the salt water intake hose to the toilet when we have been sitting for a while however this clears after one 10 second flush.
I am unsure what the holding tank to overflow outlet hose is as it cannot be seen, I will check this out plus try to procure Noflex Digester and run that through then report back to you.

I think Peggie means you may have ingested something via that "salt water intake hose to the toilet" -- which pretty must by definition must be below the waterline.

She mentioned avoiding "overflowing out the vent" and if that's what you're referring to when you say "overflow outlet hose" -- you're maybe misunderstanding. The vent hose is for AIR only. If effluent overflows through that, and either clogs that hose or clogs a filter attached to that hose... things go downhill from there. Her point is that you want to avoid any overflow that impacts the vent line.

The Noflex guy in NZ is Phil Johnston; see his blog at loopykiwi.

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Old 03-30-2019, 10:45 AM   #20
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Spirits of Salts is HCL Hydrochloric Acid which is wonderful for removing scale and calcite build up...

AHA! Also known here by the archaic name muriatic acid, commonly used by boat owners worldwide to dissolve scale buildup in hoses. Sold in the UK as "brick cleaner." A 12-15% dilute of whatever the dilute in the bottle (it varies with brand). For future reference, buildup can be prevented with a weekly cupful of distilled white vinegar flushed through, followed in an hour by at least a quart of clean FRESH water.

The toilet can only ingest sea life via a line through which water is being PULLED--i.e. the toilet's flush water INTAKE hose. Even when no sea life has been pulled in, sea water is full of micro-organisms that when left to sit in the toilet's intake line and pump while the boat sits unused even for a day or two die and decay...causing the first flush upon return to knock you off your feet! However, that odor only lasts till the stagnant water has been rinsed out by new. That you're seeing black flecks in it means that the toilet definitely has pulled something into the intake plumbing...So you need to follow the instructions I gave Gmarr above to flush it all out.

Chris, I think "overflow hose" hose refers to the toilet/tank overboard discharge, but to be sure...


Phil, does that hose come off a fitting the top of the tank or a fitting at the bottom? If at the top and a smaller diameter than the toilet-to-tank hose, it's not an overflow, it's the tank vent line. Only AIR should ever pass through through it!

...my wife who loves the boat having had enough!!!!!!!!!

I know exactly how she feels! A similar problem on the first boat big enough to have a toilet and holding tank that my late husband and I bought 33 years ago was so bad that either the odor had to go or the boat had to go, and I liked the boat. Holding tanks were so new in the '80s that the only thing anyone in the marine industry had to offer was "boat toilets stink holding tanks stink worse." So I had to go outside the marine industry to sewage treatment experts to get any helpful information. Learning how to solve it and then helping our dockmates who had the same problem became the accidental start of a whole new career. Though most people don't consider a move from 20 years in advertising to sewage management to be a major career leap.

--Peggie
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