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Old 09-27-2016, 09:44 PM   #21
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And you get a big nice boat out of it. Good for you! I have used your product for several years and love it. Thanks.
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:29 AM   #22
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Yes we make it and I developed the product
Had a problem years ago with sludge in the big treatment systems on Ferries, mines, Shell oil islands on and on. I helped with some of the designs and a lot of the tek stuff. Some of them are so closely watched samples are inline and tested every hour, realizing there were too many variables, that's were the Noflex came from.
Sludge is a problem for them because of volumes. I modified over the years for the holding tank and septic tank side to get the smells out and sludge and then got into the retail side . It's really 2 products in one .
I'm a power boater I know what the smells are like and it's a cheap fix.
World wide sales on word of mouth and I get to deal with happy people.

Very cool. As I said, I started using it this summer and it helped solve my situation.
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:57 AM   #23
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There's a very simple way to deal with sludge that doesn't require anything but water and a little effort: Put 4-6" of water into the tank via the deck pumpout fitting--'cuz that sends it into the tank at the bottom to stir up any sludge and hold it in suspension so it can be pumped out or sucked out by the overboard discharge pump. Doesn't matter whether it's fresh water or salt...if you can easily get outside the "3 mile limit" you can even use a washdown pump to put the water in the tank...after you've added a few inches, just keep the water running while you run the discharge pump. If you have to use a pumpout, repeat until you see only clean water in the pumpout hose sight glass. Last step, run enough FRESH water (sea water can be sticky) through any overboard discharge pump to rinse it and its plumbing out.

Wish I could do this. We're inland, and it's a long trip to offshore... so can't do the macerator discharge thing.

And actually, we discovered our macerator pump is crapped out (so to speak), probably from years of non-use... I haven't even bothered to replace it yet.

The letters SOL come to mind...



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Old 09-28-2016, 10:10 AM   #24
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Very cool. As I said, I started using it this summer and it helped solve my situation.
Agree w/ Dave - Combo of NoFlex and a tank bubbler has made a huge difference
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:18 AM   #25
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And you get a big nice boat out of it. Good for you! I have used your product for several years and love it. Thanks.
The Noflex and our Marine cleaners are just a side line and I get away with it because it is a family business . I like doing it because I always try to make a better product that makes life more enjoyable for the customer
Happy you like the product--- it makes my day to hear that .

We make a lot a lot of cleaners very large volumes and supply the Safeway's of the world "that's what paid for the boat".

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Old 09-28-2016, 10:41 AM   #26
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Agree w/ Dave - Combo of NoFlex and a tank bubbler has made a huge difference
The bubbler is a great product and addition to your system.
Thanks for liking the Noflex
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:08 AM   #27
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Wish I could do this. We're inland, and it's a long trip to offshore... so can't do the macerator discharge thing.

And actually, we discovered our macerator pump is crapped out (so to speak), probably from years of non-use... I haven't even bothered to replace it yet.
Usually, there is a shaft (on the macerator) with a slot on the end. You may have to remove a rubber cap to find it. Put a screwdriver in the slot and see if you can turn the shaft. If you can, this may free up the motor or impeller and take care of the problem.

I would not feel too bad about testing the macerator without being offshore but I wouldn't do it in front of a crowd.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:54 AM   #28
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The bubbler is a great product and addition to your system.
Thanks for liking the Noflex
I'm assuming you are refering to something like SweetTank...
Mine is a DIY project I installed to test the concept.
See Holding Tank Aeration

It helped but didn't resolve the odor problem completely - in combination w/ NoFlex we're happy and so are our dockmates
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Old 09-28-2016, 12:31 PM   #29
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Just to put out another possibility regarding the vent line. Is it possible the hose has gone soft and is colapsing when vaccum is applied by the pumpout? that would explain the fact that gases are still able to vent out from the tank when flushing, but unable to get air into the tank when pumping out. It may be worth disconnecting the vent line at the tank then trying to pump out (depending on whether you are able to easily inspect the line).
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:22 PM   #30
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Usually, there is a shaft (on the macerator) with a slot on the end. You may have to remove a rubber cap to find it. Put a screwdriver in the slot and see if you can turn the shaft. If you can, this may free up the motor or impeller and take care of the problem.


Yeah, that's what we had to do the last few times I was able to use it, offshore. (Ditto sometimes with the macerator pump on our fishbox discharge line.) But then a couple more years of non-use went by, and now the motor won't spin at all, immediately flips off the breaker. Tried the mallet trick, too; no joy.

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Old 09-29-2016, 07:47 AM   #31
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Yeah, that's what we had to do the last few times I was able to use it, offshore. (Ditto sometimes with the macerator pump on our fishbox discharge line.) But then a couple more years of non-use went by, and now the motor won't spin at all, immediately flips off the breaker. Tried the mallet trick, too; no joy.

-Chris
Yes. Been there...done that. I'm afraid it's cactus. Had to replace mine for same reason just a few months ago.
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Old 09-29-2016, 07:54 AM   #32
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Rebuilding/repairing a macerator is not so difficult. Over time the urine corrodes the internal shaft etc. but you may well find that apart from a few inexpensive parts the motor etc. is fine. We always kept a rebuilt as a spare.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:09 AM   #33
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I've been pondering the plugged vent thing.
While I understand how plugged vent might prevent emptying a tank I wonder how the toilet would work in that situation too.
Then there is the question of wouldn't the tank simply pull air through the toilet itself if the vent were plugged and the tank being pumped?
Our Jabsco not-so-Quiet-flush only has a single joker valve and a small standing column of water to pull through...don't these tank pumps have enough suction to pull air through that?

I believe that the tank might be sludge filled...

One trick RV'rs use to overcome a sludged tank is to use a combination of fabric softener and Tide dishwater detergent in the tank to soften the goo. That and a big pile of ice and a ride on a bumpy road helps break everything up so it can be drained. I guess the trick would be getting the ice into the tank on a boat...
In an RV, it's easy.

Just curious,
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:12 AM   #34
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Rebuilding/repairing a macerator is not so difficult. Over time the urine corrodes the internal shaft etc. but you may well find that apart from a few inexpensive parts the motor etc. is fine. We always kept a rebuilt as a spare.
I reckon we'll maybe do that, whenever I get around to it. The actual replacement process should be fairly easy, even if slightly messy for a few minutes. Although I might at the same time replace the discharge hose from the holding tank, simply because I could.

Anyway, the replacement pump isn't expensive. We replaced the fishbox macerator pump (same model) already, relatively easy... and even that turned out to be unnecessary. Turned out to be an incorrectly diagnosed issue: a hard clog (fish scales and so forth) at the thru-hull. But at least that motor would run. So I've already got one decent spare...

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Old 09-29-2016, 08:31 AM   #35
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The toilet will work with a plugged vent up to a point. How do I know??
Our vent was plugged when we first purchased our boat. We did not realize at first because we were offshore for the first several days returning to the northeast from Florida, and just discharged waste. Once back we switched to the holding tank. Over the next couple of weeks the electric head operated but it became more difficult to close the bathroom door. Then the tank level sensor stopped working. Time to take a look at the FG holding tank. It was pumped up and inflated such that it was putting enough pressure on the floor above to interfere with the door, and squeezing the connectors to the tank sensor. Just glad the problem was discovered before we had a SOL explosion!!! So you can definitely pump in when you can not pump out, but it is not advised!!!
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:35 AM   #36
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While I understand how plugged vent might prevent emptying a tank I wonder how the toilet would work in that situation too.

Flushing a toilet against a blocked vent will pressurize the system. Opening the deck pumpout cap when the tank is pressurized will release a geyser. The first clue that the system is becoming pressurized is a toilet that starts "burping" and spitting up when you flush it.

Then there is the question of wouldn't the tank simply pull air through the toilet itself if the vent were plugged and the tank being pumped?

It'll try to pull in air from anywhere it can, but the air flow through the toilet isn't enough to prevent a strong pumpout from pulling some vacuum...iow, it may be able to pull the waste out, but very slowly with pressure that can suck tank walls in. A macerator pump doesn't have enough suction to pull much of anything out against a blocked vent. In fact, any hissing in a toilet bowl is a strong indication of a blocked vent.

Our Jabsco not-so-Quiet-flush only has a single joker valve and a small standing column of water to pull through...don't these tank pumps have enough suction to pull air through that?

If the joker is so worn that the slit has become a hole, the pumpout can empty the tank, but very slowly while it pulls on the tank walls. In fact, if the boat/toilets sit unused long enough, the pressure in the system can escape through the toilet...allowing the deck pumpout cap to be opened without releasing a geyser. But it's unlikely the toilet(s) on a liveaboard will sit unused long enough to do that.

As with most things, prevention is a lot easier--and in the case of a blocked tank vent, more pleasant--than cure. And the simplest way to prevent a blocked holding tank vent is to replace the "vent" thru-hull (which is actually designed for fuel tank vents, but boat builders use the same thru-hulls on all vent lines) with an open "bulkhead" or "mushroom" thru-hull that you can stick a hose nozzle up against and backflush the vent line every time you wash the boat and/or pump out.

I believe that the tank might be sludge filled...

If you've never flushed out the tank, there could be an inch or two of sludge on the bottom, but no more...and not even that much unless you use a lethal chemical tank product that kills the bacteria needed to break down and liquify solids and TP. Unlike RVs, the contents of marine tanks is mostly flush water...RV toilets use only enough to rinse the bowl as the the contents slide into the tank directly below it--just a pint or two...and most RVers do use lethal chemicals, primarily Thetford products. So 90% of the contents of an RV tank IS sludge. Plus, RV tanks are literally dumped out a port in the bottom of the tank...no rinsing--RVers are even lazier about tank maintenance than boat owners...leaving what's known as the "poop pyramid" to build up in the tanks. When the RV sits between trips, the sludge turns to concrete. RVers don't do anything to PREVENT it, but they do get creative in their efforts to cure it with the least amount of effort possible.

Use a bio-active or other tank product that doesn't kill all the bacteria needed to break down and liquify solids and TP...rinse out your tank 2-3 x a year--and especially before winter or any other extended layup--and sludge won't be a problem.

And btw, joker valves should be replaced at least every two years if you want them to be a one-way valve instead of just a piece of rubber that partially blocks the flow from the toilet.

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Old 09-29-2016, 10:44 AM   #37
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The toilet will work with a plugged vent up to a point. How do I know??
Our vent was plugged when we first purchased our boat. We did not realize at first because we were offshore for the first several days returning to the northeast from Florida, and just discharged waste. Once back we switched to the holding tank. Over the next couple of weeks the electric head operated but it became more difficult to close the bathroom door. Then the tank level sensor stopped working. Time to take a look at the FG holding tank. It was pumped up and inflated such that it was putting enough pressure on the floor above to interfere with the door, and squeezing the connectors to the tank sensor. Just glad the problem was discovered before we had a SOL explosion!!! So you can definitely pump in when you can not pump out, but it is not advised!!!
I'm surprised that enough pressure to bulge the tank enough to raise the cabin sole wasn't enough to cause an eruption through the toilet. The joker valve wouldn't stop it...that much pressure would turn joker valve inside out. It's happened to more than one person.

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Old 09-29-2016, 11:57 AM   #38
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I went back and re-read the original post. I mistakenly thought that the tank had been sitting filled since the fall of 2015...
Clearly, if the boat had been in use, as it was, sludge isn't the issue.
Maybe the tank wasn't being used and it's actually empty?
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:04 PM   #39
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Well the top of the tank was definitely bulged and the poop was still going down!!!
Jut glad I found it when I did!!!
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Old 10-01-2016, 03:46 PM   #40
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***Problem Solved***
First I want to thank you all. All of the information you sent helped me understand the process better and I sounded somewhat more knowledgeable when addressing the guys working on the situation. I knew what questions to ask and how to interpret their answers. And they were grateful that I was able to speak intelligently with them. And thank you for being patient while we worked through the process of 'elimination'. In the end the answer is **IT WAS NEVER MY BOAT***. It was the marina pump out. Here is what I learned. After spending hours and days on my boat with the marina I got a referral through one of the responses to my post. He recommended a local man who somewhat specializes in this area. Within an hour of being here he tested the marina pump, which hadn't been done. Their main pumpout at the fuel dock that ties into the city sewer measured <12 iov(inches of volume) and their mobile cart tested at <10 iov. As was explained to me a good boat pump out should test between 25 and 30 iov. Thankfully NO HOLES WILL BE CUT IN MY BOAT. The marina has been very responsive. They have already made plans to increase their pump power and adding a vacuum guage so the dockmaster can more easily monitor its effectiveness. A happy ending. Hooray The mans name is John Bragg 386-916-0718 and he pretty much works the St Johns river area. I can recommend him.
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