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Old 06-30-2021, 06:25 PM   #1
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2 heads, 1 stinker

Hi folks,
My boat has 2 heads both going into a common holding tank. Short runs from either head to the holding tank.
Flushing head #1 is no problem.
Flushing head #2 stinks up the entire 40 foot boat.
Stinking will occur no matter what goes down that toilet.
Good head is a newer Raritan electric flush sea water macerating toilet.
Stinking head is a 20 year old Jabsco electric flush sea water macerating toilet that is in otherwise good condition.
Any ideas?
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Old 06-30-2021, 06:38 PM   #2
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My first guess is a leak between the toilet and holding tank.
It could be a permeated hose but that should stink all the time.
Peggie will be along with the correct answer soon. Buy her book.
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:02 PM   #3
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Thanks. I have her book but this isn't covered.

I already use the noflex digestor and the KO products so really shouldn't have any smell at all.
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:52 PM   #4
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Does the stinker get used frequently or not so much? If it isnít used much organisms can die in the intake hose and will stink the first time or two that it is flushed.
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Old 06-30-2021, 09:17 PM   #5
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Questions: Odors are always strongest at their source... So does the odor emanate from the bowl and then spread throughout the boat when that toilet is flushed, or does it seem to be everywhere immediately upon flushing the toilet? Do you see black flecks in the bowl when flushing that toilet? How old are the hoses connected to that toilet? Is there always a "low grade" odor in the lockers/spaces the discharge hose passes through that kind of "erupts" when you flush?


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Old 06-30-2021, 09:43 PM   #6
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Smell starts in the head but very quickly consumes entire boat though the boat isn't all that big, the maximum distance from that head to anywhere else on the boat is no more than 12 or 14 feet.
Holding tank is in direct center of boat.

I have seen black flecks from that particular bowel.

Hoses are 7 or 8 years old.
Boat has always had a boat smell but not a sewage smell.

I pumped out today and my marina's pump out system was working better than average so I think I did a pretty good job. Added some water and noflex after pumpout and a half hour later the smell was reduced but definitely still there after flushing.
Just as an addendum after pumping out I noticed a tiny leak from the overboard discharge macerator - maybe from the suction of the dockside pumpout hose? Never noticed it before. That Jabsco macerator pump was replaced around 5 years ago.

Boat is in the Fort Lauderdale area.
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Old 07-01-2021, 02:15 AM   #7
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I think Comodaveís question is a good one. Raw water flush heads will usually give you an order when they are used the first time after sitting for a while. If that head doesnít get used as much, or it has a much longer run from the raw water intake to the bowl, that could be a source of the odor. Typically has a sulpher/rotten egg smell.

Not related to your current issue, but when you pump out the holding tank, Iíd recommend that you flush the holding tank with fresh water a couple of times while you are at it.
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Old 07-01-2021, 06:12 AM   #8
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Thanks all for helping out.
Each head has its own raw water intake. The intakes are within 2 feet of each other. Hose length from intakes to heads are each around 6 feet for both heads.
I usually put a little water down the hose after pump out to clean out the hose.
Maybe I should just send my family away for an hour or two and flush that head a bunch of times?
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Old 07-01-2021, 10:01 AM   #9
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Smell starts in the head but very quickly consumes entire boat though the boat isn't all that big, the maximum distance from that head to anywhere else on the boat is no more than 12 or 14 feet.
Holding tank is in direct center of boat.
I have seen black flecks from that particular bowel.
Hoses are 7 or 8 years old.
Boat has always had a boat smell but not a sewage smell.

after pumping out I noticed a tiny leak from the overboard discharge macerator - maybe from the suction of the dockside pumpout hose? Never noticed it before. That Jabsco macerator pump was replaced around 5 years ago.


I'm pretty sure you have more than one problem:

The black flecks in the bowl are the remains of dead, decaying and STINKING animal or vegetable sea life trapped in the intake line and/or the channel in the rim of the bowl.

The cure: remove the head intake line from the thru-hull (close the seacock first!) and stick it into a bucket of water to which you've added a quart of distilled white vinegar. Flush the entire bucketful through to the tank.

Install a strainer in the intake line to prevent this problem in the future. It needs to be above waterline and accessible for cleaning it out on a regular basis.

I strongly suspect that your hoses have permeated with odor. If so, there will always be at least a little odor in every locker or area they pass through that you may not notice except when that locker is open or when the toilet is flushed. You have horrendous odor when you flush because waste or water being pushed through a hose puts pressure on the hose walls, pushing out odor. They're most likely flex PVC, which have almost -0- odor permeation resistance, but even if they aren't, 7-8 yr old hoses are close the end of the working life for any hose (10 years), so I strongly recommend that you replace 'em. Raritan SaniFlex RaritanSaniFlex hose is the best, has a 10 yr warranty against odor permeation and has the added advantage of being so flexible it can be bent almost as tight as a hairpin without kinking, making most rehosing jobs a LOT easier. Defender has it for <$10/ft and sells it by the foot. Raritan Sani / Flex Sanitation Hose at Defender

How far--how many hose feet--is that toilet from the holding tank? I'm asking because 6' is about as far as the average manual or electric toilet can move bowl contents without a lot of help from gravity in the amount of time anyone wants to leave their finger on the flush button unless you want to fill up the tank with flush water. Each flush should be followed with enough clean water to rinse out the hose anyway, 'cuz waste left to sit in the hose will permeate all but the most odor permeation hose.

That leaking 5 yr old macerator pump is definitely a source of your odor! Jabsco macerator pumps have an average trouble-free lifespan of only about two years especially if they aren't used because the rubber seals and gaskets in 'em dry out and fail. Jabsco has a rebuild kit for it, but I'd replace it with an electric diaphragm pump that can run dry without harm and can easily last at least a couple of decades. The Dometic T-Series Pump is the best one. SeaLand T-Series Pump at Defender

I usually put a little water down the hose after pump out to clean out the hose.

You should be putting enough water into the tank via the deck pumpout fitting to cover the bottom of it to a depth of about 4" and pump that out or turn on the macerator pump to flush any sludge out of the bottom of the tank.

We can address your "boat smell" after we solve this odor problem...although you'll find solutions to that in my book (see link in my signature...just click on the title). I"m always glad to answer questions whether you have my book or not.


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Old 07-01-2021, 10:27 AM   #10
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Wow, it is eerie how similar our problems are! Identical down to the models, distances, and patterns. What kind of boat do you have?
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Old 07-04-2021, 11:58 AM   #11
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I have an older Italian boat, Cranchi 40.
Hose runs are less than 6 feet to holding tank. I actually didn't see any black flecks coming from bowel rim. Filters on raw water intakes look OK.

I'd like to get this totally sorted out Peggy-style.
Does anybody know a good marine sanitation mechanic in the Miami to Fort Lauderdale area?
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Old 07-12-2021, 10:19 AM   #12
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Unfortunately left Peggy's excellent book back in NY but will be better prepared next time.

UPDATE
-Switched out the macerator pump in the Bahamas. Only one available to fly in from Nassau was a direct Jabsco replacement - hopefully this will last a while.

-Thoroughly cleaned out the bilge

- Filled the 50 gallon tank with water

- Used up the last of my NoFlex digestor and a couple teaspoons of sodium percarbonate and went for a short ride

- Emptied the tank

- Next day added more water to tank

- Used another 3-4 teaspoons of sodium percarbonate and went for a short ride

- Emptied tank again

- Added another 2 teaspoons of sodium percarbonate and some Raritan KO and used head normally for the past few days

Now after about a week the semi-translucent tank walls look so much better and we aren't greeted by a foul smell when entering the boat. The smell isn't perfect but smells better than anytime in recent memory and no latrine odor.

I'll be adding a small amount of sodium percarbonate on a regular basis from now on.

One head still smells a little bit upon flushing (just within the head compartment). The glass sea strainers for the heads look a little fragile and I will address them when back in Florida in a couple of days. I'll also do some more spraying and cleaning with PureAyre to see if I can get rid of the rest of the odors.

Thanks to all - you have been super helpful.
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Old 07-12-2021, 10:32 AM   #13
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I'll also do some more spraying and cleaning with PureAyre to see if I can get rid of the rest of the odors.

PureAyre is NOT a cleaning product!! Clean first with detergent and water (NO bleach!), let it dry at least enough to remove any standing water. THEN spray every surface, nook and cranny in that area with PureAyre...do NOT rinse, just let it dry.


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Old 07-12-2021, 05:55 PM   #14
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Glad you seem to have a handle on the issue.



Quote:
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- Added another 2 teaspoons of sodium percarbonate and some Raritan KO and used head normally for the past few days

Question for Peggie: How does KO and Na percarbonate interact? My understanding is that Na percarbonate is a powerful oxidizer since each molecule has 3 H2O2 sections stuck to it. Since KO has aerobic bacteria in it, wouldn't the Na percarbonate kill off the tank flora?


It seems to me that using both together might be self defeating?
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Old 07-12-2021, 08:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhays View Post
Glad you seem to have a handle on the issue.
Question for Peggie: How does KO and Na percarbonate interact? My understanding is that Na percarbonate is a powerful oxidizer since each molecule has 3 H2O2 sections stuck to it. Since KO has aerobic bacteria in it, wouldn't the Na percarbonate kill off the tank flora?

It seems to me that using both together might be self defeating?

I dont understand why an oxidizer... would hurt aerobic bacteria... thats what they need and why it works.
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Old 07-12-2021, 09:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I dont understand why an oxidizer... would hurt aerobic bacteria... thats what they need and why it works.
ďThe toxicity is due to oxidation of proteins, membrane lipids and DNA by the peroxide ions.Ē From Wikipedia
And now you know.😁
H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide.
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Old 07-12-2021, 10:40 PM   #17
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I learn something new every day...thanks Parks!


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Old 07-12-2021, 11:02 PM   #18
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I learn something new every day...thanks Parks!


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You understood that? I didnít! I just know hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria.
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Old 07-13-2021, 05:53 AM   #19
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Thanks Parks
I will guess it must be concentration related?
My questioning was due to my understanding that sodium percarbonate (SPC) is a dry form / source of H2O2 and generic form of NoFlex holding tank treatment that I and many others have found successful. My understanding is the H2O2 produced is the source of O2 that supports aerobic bacteria.

I found this re SPC...
"Sodium percarbonate is a bleaching and oxidizing agent commonly used in household cleaning products.[3,4,5]*It is often used in toothpaste and tooth whitening products, as well as in crop production to inhibit algae and moss.[6,7]*We use it as a detergent booster. It dissolves in water and turns into hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate.[8]"

I'm thinking like bleach... it takes a certain concentration & time to sanitize a system and may be the same w/ H2O2, SPC???
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Old 07-21-2021, 07:46 PM   #20
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My aft head used to stink, especially if left unused. For awhile. Inspection revealed the raw water intake hose ran back 8 ft to a through hill. Great petri dish. I even had a few fish get caught in the pipe. Solution: I used a 2" T manifold. 1 line in one out and the third opening capped with screw in and cap. I unscrew the cap and put 1/2 tablet of pool clorine inside. When you flush. Raw water floes over the tablet, and some now clorinated water flows back to the feed pipe. It always smells sweet. Some will say chlorine is bad for the hoses. Ive been doing this for over 20 years without trouble.
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