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Thread: Fixed holding tank odor

  1. #1
    Senior Member GoVols's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
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    Nashville, TN
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    Fixed holding tank odor

    From the time I bought my boat in Fall 2011 to this past summer, I'd clear the dock any time I'd flush my toilets. I was told I needed to replace the exhaust filter (aka fart filter) for my black water tank, but my boat's builder didn't install one nor did they make the hose accessible to work on.

    I finally had enough of the complaints from my dock neighbors and got brave enough to work on the issue. I carefully took the wall panneling off where I thought the house was located, which was surprisingly easy. After seeing what I was working with, I next went to Lowes and bought some supplies to build my own maintainable carbon canister. I built my own because the stupid ones the stores want you to buy cost $75 and are a 1-and-done deal.

    Pictured here is what I built for around $30. All it is is hardened PVC pipe, a couple of hose barbs, a few fittings to form a chamber, and aquarium filter media with activated carbon. Since I installed this, problem has been GONE! What's more, the guest cabin no longer has a musty odor that plagued the boat for years.

    I wish I did this years ago!
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    Formerly owned a 16X69' Sailabration

    Bet On Another Thousand

  2. #2
    Super Moderator OLD HOUSEBOATER's Avatar
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    Thanks for the picture
    The fries are cold so we gave you extra.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Here's the one I put together; about $8 at Lowes and $7 at Walmart; with plenty of carbon left over for a refill.
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    LongJohn
    Watts Bar Lake; Tn River

  4. #4
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    I sure appreciate these ideas!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Edenton, NC
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    But, wait-- You still have a holding tank?

  6. #6
    Senior Member GoVols's Avatar
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    Amelia, my wife and I don't want to swim among our turds, therefore we don't dump (no pun intended) straight to the lake. 95% of my dock neighbors dump to the lake, which is why I don't tie up with them on the water when we intend to go swimming. Several of them say they have a waste treatment system before it dumps, but I know the chemicals are costly and it's not easy to maintain, so I'm sure they're not maintaining it to its optimum level.
    Formerly owned a 16X69' Sailabration

    Bet On Another Thousand

  7. #7
    Senior Member easttnboater's Avatar
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    Amelia is a proponent of composting toilets - which work fine for her situation. However, a composting toilet would tank (pun intended) the resale value of a factory built houseboat.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tony B's Avatar
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    Little Tennessee River (Tellico Lak) near Knoxville
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    Ever since I got my PuraSan waste treatment system, I have been a big advocate of it. It is not only eco-friendly, but also the most maintenance free system other than adding a tablet every 2 - 3 months.

    The tablets cost less than $70 for 6 tablets. thats less than $12/tablet. we are full time live-aboards and we use an average of 1 tablet every 2 months. Part-timers and seasonal people should get a years worth of usage on one tablet.
    To change tablets, you unscrew the top of the basket holder by hand and drop in another tablet. Screw top back on and done. From the time it takes me to find the tablets, lift the cushion off the forward settee, lift off a small board and add a new tablet and put everything back is probably under 2 mins. I only have to do it once every 2 to 3 months at a maximum cost of less than $70/year.

    To me, the biggest advantage is when non-boaters are on the boat. There is a dual switch which consists of an upper and lower switch together. Press the upper switch to add more water to bowl and press both switches at once with one finger to flush.
    Last edited by Tony B; 02-19-2016 at 08:41 AM.
    Houseboater at Heart
    1986 Mainship 36 Dual Cabin Pointed Ended House Boat

  9. #9
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    I understand the convenience of the PuraSan, but I'm a little doubtful of the eco-friendly part. Operated properly, the PuraSan kills all of the pathogens in the waste, so that would be human friendly, I suppose, and makes the discharge legal in most navigable waters. But the process nonetheless dumps the waste overboard along with any unreacted biocide, a particularly unfriendly act to critters that make their home there. The more eco-friendly method is the holding tank that is pumped to a landside treatment system.

    The discharges from the PuraSan and ElectroScan are not monitored and effectiveness is dependent on proper maintenance and operation. One's neighbors in a crowded marina may be skittish, understanding how easy the systems can be manipulated. Many states (Tennessee included) do not routinely inspect waste systems, so less scrupulous boaters get away with improper discharge.
    LongJohn
    Watts Bar Lake; Tn River

  10. #10
    Senior Member GoVols's Avatar
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    2 summers ago, we tied up with several other boats for a weekend of fun on the lake. I know for a fact that I was the only boat there that had a funtional holding tank. All other boats abide to the 'don't ask, don't tell' holding tank policy. Well the following week, my wife became ill and started having a lot of pain in her lower back which culminated in a 1AM ER visit. Long story short, she got a kidney infection, which most likely was the result from swimming in nasty water. As a result of this, we no longer tie up with others that don't have a functioning holding tank.
    Formerly owned a 16X69' Sailabration

    Bet On Another Thousand

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