New Sanitation

A smelly JOB…

…but in any case: inevitable. After this years sailing season I decided to rip out the whole sanitation system. As the one who usually inhibits the forecastle the increasing odor became unbearable. Hoses, holding tank and the head itself were at least 30 years old. Besides the fact that you get a serious problem with the smell after such a long time, it may also be dangerous to some extent, because hoses and gaskets loose their elasticity and can literally break or become leaky. Additionally I wanted to simplify the whole system and go back to a standard setup with a toilet, a holding tank and a waste pump for deck discharge. With the old system it was possible to flush the tank with seawater, but this required additional hoses and diverter valves – and we never used this feature. Another issue was, that the existing manual waste pump was mounted directly above the flush water intake seacock, so that you could neither see or check it nor reach the lever conveniently. Therefore I replaced the existing manual pump by a very compact electric macerator pump, which I mounted in a nearby locker. Now you have easy and open access to the intake seacock. Some superficial green rust was visible at the outer surface of both bronze seacocks but that doesn’t really matter. The cranks worked with ease and there were no signs of deeper corrosion.

This part was definitely the worst. In almost every hose were remains of smelly „water“.  Fortunately I was prepared and brought some plugs, which I produced with my 3d-printer. First was the holding tank, which – I was speechless- was a tank for drinking water. Why I never recognized this? These tanks may be watertight but they are not suitable for waste water, because they are simply not odor-proof. Then hose after hose followed and also a lot of additional equipment like 90° bends, valves, the waste pump and lots of hose clamps of course. Last but not least was the toilet itself including the floor board, which was in a pitifull condition but structurally in order. At the end of the day I counted 45 (!) hose clamps – and every single one still worked very well. Now I had the hoses disassembled it was also a good opportunity to lubricate the inside of the seacocks with Lanolin.

Cleaning, Sanding, Painting
All lockers were cleaned and sanitized thoroughly. The toilet locker and the floor board got special attention. The latter was very moist, becaue the plywood was not coated underneath. Also it was considerably perforated by bore holes everywhere, probably from previous installations and had blistering paint at the top side. Locker and board were dried, sanded and coated by three layers of our proven deck paint. Beforehand the needless bore holes were plugged by epoxy putty. Last but not least I appled a thick layer of 2K epoxy resin at the bottom side of the board, so it will never soak up water (or other liquids) any more.

Requirements: a new toilet, a new holding tank, a new pump, a lot of different hoses, many, many hose clamps and some bolts. To find a new toilet was not as simple as I thought due to serious space restrictions of our existing locker. In fact I only found two models and our choice was the TALAMEX COMPACT sea water toilet. The 2nd challenge was the holding tank due to the same reasons. Of course it had to be a bladder tank again, but even then it was almost impossible to find a suitable model. In any case I decided to try the 60 liter CANPLASTC black water tank and it showed that this worked fine. Next were hoses. Don’t make the mistake and buy them at the yacht chandler. Prices are at least double or even more. Especially for the 11/2“ (38 mm) discharge hoses which must be odor-proof of course, the price difference is crazy. I contacted a specialized hose shop, which sells hoses + related equipment – and nothing else. Also these guys can give you guidance, advice and if required support. Our choice for all hoses (38 mm, 25 mm, 19 mm, 16 mm) was the FLEX AO which is a flexible odor-proof PVC hose with a reinforcing spiral. The waste tank discharge pump was a SEAFLO 12V macerator pump. For convinient installation of the head I printed some rotation locks in which the self-locking nuts plus washers would perfectly fit. No need any more to get your hands under the floor board to hold the nuts while somebody else operates the wrench to tighten the bolts from above.