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Old 07-03-2014, 12:20 PM   #21
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I hesitated in saying chlorine given I don't know for sure what every municipality is using and also knowing this crowd how quickly I'm corrected, but yes your post is exactly what I meant.
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I'm not sure turning is the right term. If you are getting your water from a city/municipal water source, it is treated with chlorine but only to protect the water from recontamination as it travels throughout the distribution system. The residual chlorine will gas off within 7-10 days in your water tanks.
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:17 PM   #22
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If the water lines are 25 years old and clear PVC then I would seriously suggest replacing them. Use the water tubing from the marine store or PEX from the home center or plumbing supply store. Clear tubing allows light and encourages growth.

I've never understood the practice some folks have of not drinking from the boat's water system. There's no reason the water from your boat's potable water system cannot be just as good as the water in your home.

Use a clean drinking water rated hose to fill the tanks and hide it away so others can't use it to flush their holding tanks or drop it in the water. Let the water run for a few minutes to flush out the pipes and hose before filling your tanks. Make sure the water you put in the tanks is suitable for drinking in the first place. You can always add a tablespoon of unscented household bleach for every 20 or 30 gallons of water, especially if the water has not been treated by the city or water company.
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Old 07-04-2014, 08:24 AM   #23
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Throughout my life, we've been on well water much more often than on city water. In many cases, the well water tasted better. I don't think there's anything magic about treated city water.

Speaking of city water... we are currently hooked up to shore water at a destination marina. Their city water supply tastes heavily of chlorine.

Yuck!

Bearable after filtering through a Pur pitcher, otherwise we'd probably disconnect and use our own supply from the freshwater tanks.

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Old 07-04-2014, 09:06 AM   #24
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Chlorine is still the primary disinfecting agent used by most water systems, because you can easily test the residual anywhere in the distribution system. 2 parts per million (2 miligrams per liter) should be maintained throughout the system. If there is a chlorine residual there in no bacteria in the lines. 2ppm will not register on a pool test strip nor create any bad odor or taste.
I have not done the math on the tablespoon per 30 gallons as mentioned above but that sounds right. Remember that your household bleach is only about 7-9 % sodium hypochlorite and that chlorine can be corrosive if you overdose it be sure to flush the system.
I agree that there should be no reason NOT to use a boat's internal water system. Municipal systems employ steel tanks, ductile iron pipes, and some still have asbestos pipe in their systems.
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:44 AM   #25
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I didn't do any math either because unless your tanks are empty you won't know how much water you are adding. It's just a guess.

I grew up on city water but lived for 23 years on well water so I got used to it. When I went back on city water the chlorine smell bothered me for a week or two, then I got used to it and don't notice it anymore.

I had a smaller, trailerable boat then and routinely added chlorine when I added well water.

City water is treated and tested and is safe. You never know with water from a private, untested well. My well water was heavily acidic and ate through the pipes and tanks in my home. It also had a lot of sediment.
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:52 AM   #26
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Many cities employ wells and draw from the same aquifers that the more rural homes use.

Whether the municipalities or the residence makes the water potable....it's all about legislation for that area and money/effort spent to make it better than just potable.

The same can be said for what you put into your boat tanks and what you do to it before it leaves the tap.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:00 AM   #27
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An aside: I'm guessing chlorine in the freshwater supply may also have an effect on enzyme or aerobic bacteria holding tank treatments, when heads are flushed with that fresh water.

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Old 07-05-2014, 09:18 AM   #28
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We always run dock water through a pleated depth type filter to remove sediment before putting it into our tanks. Just a simple 10 inch plastic housing attached to the end of the hose. If you think the problem might be from the incoming water you could substitute a similar filter that also includes carbon to remove taste elements. Hard to see how your on board system could still be causing the problem if you have adequately sanitized it with bleach.

Just another thought...... I notice that you keep your boat in RI. Presumably you winterize with antifreeze. If you did this it can very hard to completely elinimate the residual taste/smell of the antifreeze. We never put antifreeze in our water heater tank or freshwater storage tanks, because then it is almost impossible to eliminate the residual smell. We always bypass the water heater and just drain that and the storage tanks. If it is antifreeze, then all you can do is keep flushing.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:36 AM   #29
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Chris: Very good point on the potential effects of chlorinated water on aerobic digesters (holding tanks). The recommended minimum concentration of chlorine for drinking water is 2 parts per million. When in the pipe line chlorine may change its chemical properties while doing its bacteria killing. When exposed to air it will quickly turn to a gas (hence the smell) and drastically reduce any ability to further kill the bacteria working in your tanks. As defined an "aerobic" bacteria holding tank should have air infusion keeping the bacteria alive and continuing to "gas out" the chlorine. At 2 ppm in the line and with the chlorine quickly dissipating upon hitting air at flush along with the air supply to the holding tank it should not interfere with a strong bacterial growth within the tank. At greater strength it will have a longer "contact time" and limit the action and growth of necessary bacteria in the tank.

Back to the original thread- Taste and odor problems are most likely due to mangenese and/or iron also gassing out when exposed to air.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:29 AM   #30
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Putting anti-freeze in a hot water heater causes terrible odors and they are hard to get rid of. I'm not saying you did that...
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:18 PM   #31
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When flushing tanks and lines it is important to run them dry then add 1/4 tank, flush everything and do it again and repeat. The reason for this is that it is very difficult to get rid of unwanted stuff in the system by mixing clean with bad. You need to have as little bad water in the system as possible when adding fresh to flush.


Some city systems have switched to amine instead of chlorine. Less smell and less effective.
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:52 PM   #32
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I do use pink a/f, but I don't put it in the tank and bypass the heater. I've done the 24 hour chlorine soak and flushed several times. We will see as time goes on. Thanks for all comments.
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:59 PM   #33
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An aside: I'm guessing chlorine in the freshwater supply may also have an effect on enzyme or aerobic bacteria holding tank treatments, when heads are flushed with that fresh water.

-Chris
My guess is that the concentration is small enough that it won't have a negative affect. Remember, these products are also used by RV owners who are often connected to city water and use this water for flushing their toilets.

If in doubt, a call or e-mail to the manufacturer should provide a definitive answer.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:50 PM   #34
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To Bayview:
I would think that the use of chloramines not "amine" is increasing in public water treatment disinfection. The Chloramines are produced as a result of adding ammonia to pre chlorinated water. The actual Chloramine (di or tri) is normally based upon the ph levels of the water.
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Old 10-03-2014, 09:00 AM   #35
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Some follow up to original post; I did start getting odors again in the lines, not the tanks, if I ran the fresh water for a couple of minutes when I got on the boat, it was fine until it sat unused for several days. I think I'll just replace the water hoses over the winter.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:16 AM   #36
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I flushed my fresh water system in May, per the headmistress' instructions, but I'm getting the smell back again. It helps if I let the water run for 10-20 seconds first, but I'm wondering: do I need to replace the water lines? They are the boat's age, 25 years old. If so, what type of water lines would be recommended? The ones in the boat are clear PVC.
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Ranger 42c: from water tanks only(no shore hookup), hoy or cold. Sort of sulfur smell. Capt.bill11: poly water tanks, 75 gal. Each. Boat is 25 years old, not sure if lines are OEM. By clear PVC, I mean clear with red/blue tracers. I think I'll redo it with the bleach treatment, then add a filter. We get water from a town well, go through a tank in about 10 days.
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I do use pink a/f, but I don't put it in the tank and bypass the heater. I've done the 24 hour chlorine soak and flushed several times. We will see as time goes on. Thanks for all comments.
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Some follow up to original post; I did start getting odors again in the lines, not the tanks, if I ran the fresh water for a couple of minutes when I got on the boat, it was fine until it sat unused for several days. I think I'll just replace the water hoses over the winter.


Have you determined positively the odor isn't coming from something in your well water source?

If your fresh water system is sitting unused for several days, does that mean the lines are unpressurized during that time period? Air can infiltrate the lines? Or...?

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Old 10-03-2014, 12:11 PM   #37
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Just an aside - somebody mentioned undercounter reverse osmosis. I would like to point out that for every gallon of water that emerges from the system, 70 gallons is discarded. I don't know if you are on water meters but this waste is significant both for cost and profligacy.
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Old 10-04-2014, 12:09 AM   #38
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Just an aside - somebody mentioned undercounter reverse osmosis. I would like to point out that for every gallon of water that emerges from the system, 70 gallons is discarded. I don't know if you are on water meters but this waste is significant both for cost and profligacy.
Well, you are close. A new decent residential system discards about 3 gallons for every gallon made. I know nothing about seawater RO system.

The other downside of these systems is they require about 45 psi minimum and prefer 60 psi which most boats don't produce.
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Old 10-04-2014, 12:22 AM   #39
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Some follow up to original post; I did start getting odors again in the lines, not the tanks, if I ran the fresh water for a couple of minutes when I got on the boat, it was fine until it sat unused for several days. I think I'll just replace the water hoses over the winter.
No need to do that...recommissioning the system as follows should cure the problem:

Fresh water system problems--foul odor or taste--are typically caused by allowing water to stagnate in the system. Although most people think only in terms of the tank, the plumbing is actually the source of most foul water, because the molds, mildew, fungi and bacteria which cause it thrive in damp dark places, not under water.

There are all kinds of products sold that claim to keep onboard water fresh, but all thatís really necessary is an annual or in especially warm climates, semi-annual recommissioning, of the entire systemótank and plumbing. The following recommendations conform to section 10.8 in the A-1 192 code covering electrical, plumbing, and heating of recreational vehicles. The solution is approved and recommended by competent health officials. It may be used in a new system a used one that has not been used for a period of time, or one that may have been contaminated.

Before beginning, turn off hot water heater at the breaker; do not turn it on again until the entire recommissioning is complete.

Icemakers should be left running to allow cleaning out of the water feed line; however the first two buckets of iceóthe bucket generated during recommissioning and the first bucketful afterward--should be discarded.

1. Prepare a chlorine solution using one gallon of water and 1/4 cup (2 oz) Clorox or Purex household bleach (5% sodium Hypochlorite solution ). With tank empty, pour chlorine solution into tank. Use one gallon of solution for each 5 gallons of tank capacity. (Simpler way to calculate: 1 quart bleach/50 gal water tank capacity)

2. Complete filling of tank with fresh water. Open each faucet and drain cock until air has been released and the entire system is filled. Do not turn off the pump; it must remain on to keep the system pressurized and the solution in the lines

3. Allow to stand for at least three hours, but no longer than 24 hours.

4 Drain through every faucet on the boat (and if you haven't done this in a while, it's a good idea to remove any diffusion screens from the faucets, because what's likely to come out will clog them). Fill the tank again with fresh water only, drain again through every faucet on the boat.

5. To remove excess chlorine taste or odor which might remain, prepare a solution of one quart white vinegar to five gallons water and allow this solution to agitate in tank for several days by vehicle motion.
6. Drain tank again through every faucet, and flush the lines again by fill the tank 1/4-1/2 full and again flushing with potable water.


To keep the water system cleaner longer, use your fresh water...keep water flowing through system. The molds, fungi, and bacteria only start to grow in hoses that aren't being used. Before filling the tank each time, always let the dock water run for at least 15 minutes first...the same critters that like the lines on your boat LOVE the dock supply line and your hose that sit in the warm sun, and you certainly don't want to transfer water that's been sitting in the dock supply line to your boat's system. So let the water run long enough to flush out all the water that's been standing in them so that what goes into your boat is coming straight from the water main.
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Old 10-04-2014, 06:02 AM   #40
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> The ones in the boat are clear<

Clear is probably the cause. If any light can get to any portion of the tube , stuff will grow.

On city water there is probably enough poison to kill the green stuff, on a well, pure water is a great home.

Paint the lines might work, as would adding poison to the system.

I would bite the bullet and install copper tubing , with flair fittings ,definiatly long lasting and light proof.

5/8 soft refrigeration tubing is my favorite.

PEX and other dirt house tubing is cheap and quick to install, but houses run 300-400+Gal per day,per person which thins out the stuff coming out of the PEX.
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