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Old 05-27-2018, 06:46 PM   #1
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Why have a Y valve?

One of these days, I’m going to replace the old Groco commode in our forward head with a Marine Elegance. Currently there are three paths for waste from the Groco to travel:
- straight to the holding tank for later pump out
- from the holding tank through a macerator pump and overboard (the macerator just tees off the pumpout hose and connects to its own seacock)
- directly overboard from the head (after switching a Y valve)

I’m thinking the Y valve is redundant since I can get the waste overboard (where legally permitted) via the holding-tank-to-macerator route.

Since I want to boat with my wife, I’m on a crusade to eliminate any possible (or imagined) head odors with new hoses, shorter hose runs, new freshwater commodes and—following Peggie’s advice—a second vent for the holding tank. Eliminating the Y valve gets rid of four clamped hoses that are candidates for allowing odors to escape.

So what am I missing?

(Today I powered up and programmed the new Marine Elegance and Purasan in the aft head. WHAT a great system!)
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Old 05-27-2018, 06:57 PM   #2
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When we upgraded the head system on Blue Sky we went from the system that you have to what you are contemplating. I was a bit skeptical about losing the direct discharge, but in fact it has never been an issue whatsoever. Anywhere that allows direct discharge would also allow holding tank discharge.
I was also told that any new builds were not allowed to have direct discharge; that is in BC/Canadian waters so the rules may differ elsewhere.
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:04 PM   #3
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My heads only pump to the holding tank, less to go wrong. I have a Y valve to empty the holding tank (dock side or overboard). I'm considering eliminating the Y and overboard discharge. With an 80 gallon holding tank and my intended cruising it won't get used. Less stuff to go wrong.

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Old 05-27-2018, 07:06 PM   #4
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I do not think you are missing anything either. Diaphragm discharge pumps seem to be more reliable than macerators though.
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:11 PM   #5
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The Y valve is a magnet to boarding officers. It's a holdover from olden days and IMHO you're better off without it. Putting aside legalities, it's one less thing full of waste that you might have to fix or replace some day.

Your plan is fine, and is how most new boats are built today.

One tip: put the macerator on TOP of (or above) the waste tank. When (not if) you have to work on it or replace it, you won't have to empty the tank or risk an unpleasant spill. Just T it in to the pump-out hose as you suggest. The only thing below the "high water line" of the tank would be an elbow to the pump-out hose. You could even do this segment in PVC.

Back to my comment about boarding officers; they're still trained to focus on the Y valve. Many boats still have the old design of having the valve right there in the head, allowing the user to choose to dump directly overboard. Thus all the language in the law about locking it out of service inside the 3NM limit.
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:25 PM   #6
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The only problem might be: when the tank gets full and the pump out pump breaks, you'll be looking for a Starbucks to use the bathroom. Close to civilization not a problem. Far from civilization, could be a big problem.
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:26 PM   #7
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I think it’s unanimous. Get rid of the Y-valve. Peggie taught me to control the macerator Pump with a key switch. That way you can legally leave the seacock open, just secure the key so you can’t accidentally discharge sewage.
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:35 PM   #8
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Currently there are three paths for waste from the Groco to travel:
- straight to the holding tank for later pump out
- from the holding tank through a macerator pump and overboard (the macerator just tees off the pumpout hose and connects to its own seacock)
- directly overboard from the head (after switching a Y valve)

Why would the direct overboard discharge from the toilet go through a macerator pump???? Please don't tell me it's to chew up the flush--totally unncessary in open ocean. If you're in waters where that would be advisable, you shouldn't be flushing raw waste directly overboard.

I'm not a fan of always sending everything to the tank either. Why store waste aboard if you don't have to? Especially since the only time anyone ever discovers that they can't empty the tank is when the tank is full, or getting there and you're at least 3 days away from the nearest landfall that has a pumpout--assuming it can even be pumped out. Think about how many threads have been posted here in just the last few months by people unable to empty their tanks?

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Old 05-27-2018, 07:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I think it’s unanimous. Get rid of the Y-valve. Peggie taught me to control the macerator Pump with a key switch. That way you can legally leave the seacock open, just secure the key so you can’t accidentally discharge sewage.
That is the way to do it, but we still close the sea cock unless we are going to be in a place where we can empty the holding tank overboard (eg. off shore).
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:48 PM   #10
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Why would the direct overboard discharge from the toilet go through a macerator pump???? Please don't tell me it's to chew up the flush--totally unncessary in open ocean. If you're in waters where that would be advisable, you shouldn't be flushing raw waste directly overboard.
Hi, Peggie. The waste doesn’t go from the toilet to a macerator. It’s from the holding tank to macerator. (Direct discharge from the toilet was the other option on the Y valve—the one I want to get rid of.

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I'm not a fan of always sending everything to the tank either. Why store waste aboard if you don't have to? Especially since the only time anyone ever discovers that they can't empty the tank is when the tank is full, or getting there and you're at least 3 days away from the nearest landfall that has a pumpout--assuming it can even be pumped out. Think about how many threads have been posted here in just the last few months by people unable to empty their tanks?
The tank is option B — for NDZs or in the infrequent cases we have guests spending time aboard. Option A is the Purasan in the other head. (This is actually the system you helped me design over the phone.)

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Old 05-27-2018, 07:50 PM   #11
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Thanks, all. The Y is toast!

Parks, ol’ buddy, I’d appreciate more about how that key works.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:23 PM   #12
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Hi, Peggie. The waste doesn’t go from the toilet to a macerator. It’s from the holding tank to macerator. (Direct discharge from the toilet was the other option on the Y valve—the one I want to get rid of.

Sorry...I misread it among all those options.


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Old 05-27-2018, 08:31 PM   #13
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No Y valve here either. Toilet waste goes directly to the holding tank. From there, the stuff can be pumped out or dumped by opening a simple valve which is inconvenient to access.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:33 PM   #14
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Hi, Peggie. The waste doesn’t go from the toilet to a macerator. It’s from the holding tank to macerator. (Direct discharge from the toilet was the other option on the Y valve—the one I want to get rid of.

Sorry...I misread it among all those options.


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I hear you, Peggie. And there were two Y valves on board at one point—one for each head. Thanks again for the upfront advice on this; it was a year or two ago, but it’s finally getting done and we’re really happy with the way it’s going.
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Old 05-27-2018, 10:10 PM   #15
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Did the same thing, removed two wye valves and a total of 4 thru hulls when I reconfigured the waste system aboard. Also changed the macerator to a diaphragm pump, and added a key switch because my overboard discharge thru hull isn't easily accessible.

The key switch is pretty straightforward. a simple SPST switch, one position turns the pump on, the other position turns it off and allows the key to be removed.

As far as the key meeting the requirements for no discharge, it's open to interpretation. Both USCG boardings I had in the past couple years wanted to see the thru hull, and I indicated it was open since we had recently been outside the 3 mile offshore limit and pumped out. Technically, the valve must be closed and handle removed, or padlocked, or access to the head must be behind a locked door. So the key doesn't really comply with the requirements, but it could be argued that a key controlling the operation of the pump satisfies the intent if the key is under control of the vessel's master. The CG guys didn't press the issue, a local LEO or fish cop might be inclined to push it. That said, if I'm cruising inland with no offshore option, I'll close the valve and remove the handle just to avoid any hassle. Still, the key is a great way to prevent incidental operation of the pump.
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Old 05-27-2018, 10:46 PM   #16
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No Y valves for me either. My GRP holding tank has 3 seperate outlets in it. Pump-out, diaphragm pump overboard and inlet to ElectroScan Hold'n'Treat. The latter has a key to operate.
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Old 05-28-2018, 01:53 AM   #17
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If you take out the Y valve, carry a spare macerater pump and be sure you know how to install it. Being offshore, days from port, friends onboard, is not the time to lose the ability to flush.

Sorry to break the unanimity, but I wouldn’t remove the Y valve, Murphy’s law being as dependable as it is.

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Old 05-28-2018, 05:15 AM   #18
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I removed the Y valve on Bay Pelican and sailed that way for 20 years. Had to replace the macerator pump twice (always a fun job) of course when the holding tank was full. But I had put in a ball valve between the macerator pump and the holding tank.

For ten years we were in an area where direct discharge was permitted. I preferred the holding tank. However, I kept a spare piece of 1-1/2" hose, a 1-1/2" plug and a hose barb as emergency equipment so that I could shift to direct discharge if needed. Never needed to do so.
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Old 05-28-2018, 06:25 AM   #19
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"One tip: put the macerator on TOP of (or above) the waste tank. When (not if) you have to work on it or replace it, you won't have to empty the tank or risk an unpleasant spill."

I would disagree with this concept as the waste , especially paper, seems to make pumps and duckbill valves unhappy.

Good suction is requited to lift the waste and both maceriators and diaphram pumps easily suffer from drying out.

Empty , rinse ,empty, rinse does help but at many pump out spots folks are waiting.

An RV discharge valve can be about $20, , although I prefer the high quality Dupree , about $50.00.

Mounted at the bottom of the tank a pump change out will only require a small pail under.

With 2 RV valves , one on either side of the pump ,and a spare pump, a swap would still smell but could be done in under a min.


https://www.dupreeproducts.com/

https://www.walmart.com/ip/CAMCO-3-R...Valve/29764333

https://www.etrailer.com/RV-Sewer/Va...iABEgKpQvD_BwE
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Old 05-28-2018, 06:26 AM   #20
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I would definitely not remove it, with properly operated fresh water toilets, there won't be any odors to escape. It gives you a back up in case the macerator pump fails or the tank vents get clogged. If you are in some place like Lake Champlain, you will need a way to disable it properly.
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