We smell a pump-out prob­lem

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin: - KRISTINE, TONY REPLIES… CB

QAbout four or five days af­ter the fort­nightly emp­ty­ing of our 18-month-old boat’s waste tank (and adding Odour­los to treat it) we start to get un­pleas­ant odour in the cabin where the tank is. We have tried adding a fur­ther dose of Odour­los, but it makes lit­tle dif­fer­ence. There are no ob­vi­ous leaks. What can we do?

via the web­site

AI have a feel­ing you might be ask­ing this ques­tion about 18 months too late, be­cause hold­ing tank breathers need con­sid­er­ing at the de­sign stage.

Some do­mes­tic toi­let clean­ing prod­ucts con­tain chem­i­cals such as bleach that will de­stroy the aer­o­bic mi­crobes in the tank (which break down the waste with min­i­mal smells) and leave the tougher anaer­o­bic ones to breed. Like­wise, if you have re­cently changed from us­ing toi­let blue which also de­stroys aer­o­bic bac­te­ria, it will take a fair few pump-outs to get rid of the resid­ual blue – so it may just be a mat­ter of time.

Aer­o­bic bac­te­ria re­quire a plen­ti­ful sup­ply of fresh air so hold­ing tanks should have two large bore (one-inch or more) breathers, one to­wards each end. Some peo­ple with two smaller breathers have rigged a brush­less com­puter fan in a metal box in one of the breather hoses, switched so it starts be­fore us­ing the toi­let and runs for a fixed pe­riod.

Lower qual­ity hose prod­ucts can leach odours, so look at the ma­te­rial of the pump-out hose and any hose con­nect­ing the toi­let to the tank to make sure it is of the best san­i­tary grade (see leesan.com). Per­son­ally I would use metal for as much of the pipework as I could, es­pe­cially if it is im­pos­si­ble to stop ef­flu­ent sit­ting in the pipe.

This sounds like a mac­er­a­tor sys­tem so no smells should be able to get back out via the toi­let. I would sus­pect ef­flu­ent is ly­ing in the hose be­tween toi­let and tank. If it is ad­justable, try in­creas­ing flush time/ vol­ume so you stand more chance of flush­ing it into the tank.

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