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Old 05-02-2013, 01:47 PM   #1
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Holding tank - No Y Valve?

I'm totally re-plumbing my aft head and holding tank. The old system had the outlet of the tank plumbed to a Y valve, one side going to the macerator for overboard discharge, and the other to the deck pump-out fitting. The head itself pumps directly into the tank no matter what.

I'm not really sure what good the Y valve does in this case. It's a magnet for uninformed boarding officers, so I'd just as soon replace it with a "T" fitting.

The T would be upside down, one arm into the bottom fitting on the tank, the base of the T (pointing up) would have a 1-1/2" hose directly up to the deck fitting, and the other arm would go to the macerator.

Using the macerator would only pump waste no matter what. Using the pump-out fitting with the overboard discharge through-hull closed would only suck up waste. If I forgot to close the through-hull (I don't usually, but it could happen) and used the pump-out, it would probably be sucking both waste and seawater. Not a huge deal unless they start charging by the gallon for pump-outs.

Thoughts?
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:14 PM   #2
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Using the macerator would only pump waste no matter what. Using the pump-out fitting with the overboard discharge through-hull closed would only suck up waste. If I forgot to close the through-hull (I don't usually, but it could happen) and used the pump-out, it would probably be sucking both waste and seawater. Not a huge deal unless they start charging by the gallon for pump-outs.

Thoughts?
Wouldn't there be a check valve between the macerator and the hull fitting to keep raw water from free flowing into the holding tank?
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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I am with you for eliminating fittings that serve no useful purpose. If you can be sure that your macerator would provide sufficient resistance to back flow that your tank will get emptied when connected to a pump-out sucker, that sounds like a good modification to make.
One thing the uninformed boarding officers look for is a way to lock the Y valve so there will be no accidental overboard discharge. You may need to add something to your thru hull to achieve that purpose.
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:27 PM   #4
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Wouldn't there be a check valve between the macerator and the hull fitting to keep raw water from free flowing into the holding tank?
Not if the macerator is above the water line.

As for the boarding officers, I didn't want to hijack my own thread with a tirade on how many different ways there are to interpret the rule in question. The law is very vague, although the examples cited steer people toward locking the through-hull or Y valve.

New production boats from Brunswick just have a double rocker switch. Apparently their attorneys have found this adequate. But I don't know if everyone doing inspections agrees. I'm thinking of maybe replacing the macerator switch with a key switch, and not keeping the key in it.
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:55 PM   #5
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The USCG boarded my sailboat several years ago. The sailboat had a Y valve between the head and the holding tank that allowed the head to flush directly overboard. The Y valve was locked in the not-overboard position when I was boarded. Though there was no way to actually prove this was the correct, legal position, the boarding party just looked at the locked Y valve and checked off that the sanitation system was compliant.

I've been boarded twice in my '95 Bayliner 4788. It has a setup similar to the OP - a T after the holding tank, one branch goes to the macerator then overboard and the other branch to the deck pumpout fitting. There is no seacock or check valve on the overboard side of the T (this being Bayliner) and the deck pumpout works fine pulling against the macerator pump. There is also a double-switch for the macerator as in the "Brunswick" description above.

The first boarding team was very casual and didn't leave the pilothouse. They just asked questions and happily checked things off based on my answer. Didn't inspect anything.

The second boarding team climbed around the boat and had to see things. They didn't even try to understand the sanitation system but instead put some powdered dye in one of the heads and flushed it. Nothing more was said but I suspect there would have been "consequences" had the water around the boat turned orange.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:12 PM   #6
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You might want to consider the ability to pump using your macerator to a shore tank. In the absence of a vacuum system it provides an option to pump off the holding tank with positive pressure. We have our system set up that way. It can be locked to satisfy the authorities.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:15 PM   #7
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...There is no seacock or check valve on the overboard side of the T (this being Bayliner) and the deck pumpout works fine pulling against the macerator pump.
No valve on a through-hull? Is it above the water line?

Anyway, that's exactly what I plan to do (plus the valve), thanks for the info.

I'm thinking of mounting the macerator on top of the tank just to get it a foot and a half higher above the waterline.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:20 PM   #8
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I took out all the through hulls, except the 671 and gen get intakes. I had an insurance audit and he noted the Eagle had a lot of though hulls below the water line we where not need and/or using. So he recommend that the next time we pull to have removed and filled in. Now every thing is pumps up over the water line. I also combined and eliminated through hulls above the water line. 8 below and 3 above. Most marinas require, check and even lock/tag out the below the water line. I sleep better at night also!
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:45 PM   #9
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I removed the Y valve and the holding tank macerator on the aft head and plumbed straight to holding tank (Great Lakes). Dockside pumpout is unchanged.

For the forward head, I moved the Y valve to a new location in the system. It is now directly below the vented loop that I added to the discharge line from the head (which keeps water in the bowl and odors out). As for the rear tank, the holding tank overboard macerator was removed (Great Lakes). One leg of the Y discharges directly into the holding tank. The other leg pumps directly overboard. The latter capability was only retained for the possibility that the boat might eventually get sold to a buyer on the east coast. The Y valve for the forward head is lock wired to the tank position, plus it is buried deep in the cabinetry next to the head. The thru hull for the overboard discharge is closed, but not wired (the lock wired Y-valve takes care of the reg requirement). I have the dockside USCG safety inspection done every year and have never been questioned regarding the arrangement. And with the inspection sticker, I never get boarded...the boys in blue cruise down the port side, spot the sticker and keep going. The overboard macerator pumps could be reinstalled with little trouble.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:36 PM   #10
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No valve on a through-hull? Is it above the water line?

Anyway, that's exactly what I plan to do (plus the valve), thanks for the info.

I'm thinking of mounting the macerator on top of the tank just to get it a foot and a half higher above the waterline.

Yes, the through-hull is about a foot above the waterline. Not ideal but it's "Bayliner spec".
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:54 PM   #11
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Yes, the through-hull is about a foot above the waterline. Not ideal but it's "Bayliner spec".
They (Brunswick, and before them, US Marine) build boats to suit the market. My 2003 Bayliner has no coring below the waterline, all bronze through-hulls with proper valves, and a bunch of other stuff that the beginner boater might not notice. I can only assume they did a cost/benefit analysis and figured that there are enough potential customers who care about these things to make it worthwhile. I'm going to miss that boat, and I'll always bristle at Bayliner bashing.

Still, macerator discharge a foot above the waterline? Yecch.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:31 PM   #12
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CaptTom, My boat is set up just as you suggest. Toilet discharges into the holding tank. There is a tee on the discharge with one hose going to the deck fitting and the other to a Jabsco macerator pump. The pump discharges through a seacock well below the waterline. The Jabsco macerator is a rubber impeller pump and water can not back flow through it so no problem with sucking seawater through the deck fitting or flowing into the tank.

"I'm thinking of maybe replacing the macerator switch with a key switch, and not keeping the key in it."
Peggie Hall once suggested that. I think it's a great idea. Then you don't have to mess with locking the seacock closed.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:14 AM   #13
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No Y valve for us.

We plumbed the head to the holding tank and the tank to the deck fitting with a Y (not valve) AT the fitting and then to the OB dump pump.

With the deck cap in place OB is a push of the button , offshore of course.

With the cap removed or simply loose , the pump can not draw from the tank.

I keep the cap in the "captains drawer", inshore and believe it is far better than a Y valve with lock and key to meet the poop police rules..

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Old 05-03-2013, 07:58 AM   #14
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FF can you explain this a little differently? I don't quite understand this set up.
(Or if you'll be in CT soon stop by Yankee Boatyard. I'll be there many days during May working on the boat)
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:22 AM   #15
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Draw a straight line , and put a vertical line in the middle.

One end is the holding tank , the other end is the OB pump, the tick is the deck fitting that can be capped .


The waste tank and OB pump are connected , but with a 3 way fitting (not a valve) the Y in the middle .

The deck pump out is the 3rd leg .

IF the pump out cap is in place the OB pump can suck the waste , if the cap is removed too much air gets in so there can be no OB pump action.

With the cap removed the dock or honey bucket boat can pump the waste tank, as the OB pump blocks any outside water from entering.

Should it be needed a pail or hose can fill both the pump and tank , the cap replaced and the pump has no suction problems from past waste. Also allows flushing the tank dockside .


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Old 05-04-2013, 06:37 AM   #16
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FF:
With the cap in the captain's drawer, how do you prevent unpleasant odor from wafting out the deck fitting?
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:45 AM   #17
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FF:
With the cap in the captain's drawer, how do you prevent unpleasant odor from wafting out the deck fitting?
Yes, my question also. In addition, what's to keep extraneous material, insects, rodents, things kids/practical jokers like to put down holes, etc, out..?
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:00 AM   #18
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Thank you FF now I get it. But I have the same question regarding smell and insects.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:05 PM   #19
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Isn't the location of the Y-valve that needs to be locked between the head and holding tank-or-overboard? If your head goes directly into the holding tank with no other option, aren't you in compliance?
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:18 PM   #20
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I've been thinking of doing the exact same thing as Capt Tom, the OP. In my case, I have a Sealand Macerator pump that uses duckbill valves on the input and output lines and it is well below the waterline. My concern is that the shore pump out could invert the duckbill valve which would permanently damage it. I would love to get rid of all the excess hose and Y-valve.

I would just remove the handle to the overboard seacock for the inspectors.

Any thoughts on this?

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