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Catalina 30 Holding tank

Mikem

.
Dec 20, 2009
753
Hunter 466 Bremerton
The issue on this new to my daughter 1982 C-30 is that the holding tank is full and cannot be pumped out. Twice the pumpout facility has been unable to remove anything from the tank. I removed the vent line from the top of the tank today intending to attempt another pumpout and determine if the vent line was plugged. Wellll, that is how I found out the tank was full. I quickly put the vent line back on the 90 degree elbow and cleaned up. Assuming the discharge line is blocked is it possible/advisable to "snake" the discharge line starting at the deck waste fitting? Thanks.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,087
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I would think yes. Worth a try.
Not one of the "rotor router" type machines.
Go easy to just break through the crust...

@Peggie Hall HeadMistress is listening.. Hopefully she will listen.
 
Jan 18, 2016
679
Catalina 387 Dana Point
Yes. The C-30's waste line is a pretty smooth curve from the deck fitting to the tank so it should be easy to snake - assuming your deck fitting is somewhat aft on the port side. I wouldn't go with a power snake , just a manual one or even a fishtape. Depending on the year, Catalina may have used exhaust hose for the hose and I'd be wary of chewing that up with a snake.

You will need to have some way to vent the tank too - possibly do what you already did -- pull the vent off of the tank. The vent may be plugged, and (depending on year) may be through a little hole in a stanchion which is a pretty crappy vent. Peggie will mention that the stanchion vent is garbage and to replace it with a 1" vent through the side of the hull.

Most of the waste line is easily accessible. I'd trace it all the way from the deck to the tank to ensure that no previous owner got all kind of smart and made "improvements" like putting a Y or shutoff valve in the discharge line. My boat came from it's P.O. with a Y valve incorrectly installed from the head to the tank and a thru hull. One setting pumped the head into the tank. The other setting blocked the head and filled the tank with seawater :) Unfortunately the P.O. knew even less about electricity than plumbing....

I have found puppy piddle pads of great use when dealing with my waste system.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,122
- - LIttle Rock
Oh yeah, I'm always listening...and if you didn't try to pump out while you had vent line off the tank, you haven't ruled out a blocked vent.

The two most common locations for a vent blockage are the vent thru-hull and the other end of the vent line--that end of the hose and the vent fitting on the tank. Start by cleaning out the thru-hull...use a screwdriver blade, ice pick--whatever works. If that doesn't result in a spew out the vent, you'll need to relieve the pressure before removing the vent line from the tank to clean them out...so open the deck pumpout fitting VERY CAREFULLY with a hose at the ready. Be sure you're UPwind of it! Scrape out that end of the vent line and the vent fitting on the tank...replace the vent line.
If there's a filter in the vent line, remove it...once a filter gets wet--which can happen when a tank is overfilled or even due to heeling--the charcoal swells and blocks the vent...one of the reasons why vent filters aren't recommended for use on most sailboats.

Once you've actually cleared the vent, try to pump out again. I think you'll prob'ly succeed this time. If you don't, there very well could be a clog in the tank discharge...most likely in the tank at the discharge fitting, in which case my money is on a wet wipe.
So clear the vent and let me know if that solves the problem.

I'm guessing that you're fairly new at dealing with marine toilets and holding tanks. The title of my book (see link in my signature, just click on the title). The title (my publisher's idea) is a bit misleading...'cuz although it does deal with every source of odor on a boat and how to cure, or better yet PREVENT 'em, it's actually a comprehensive "marine toilets and sanitation systems 101" manual that explains the laws, describes all the types of systems and how they work, and will help you learn how to operate and maintain your system to prevent 99% of problems instead of having to cure 'em. 'Cuz you get to do any preventive maintenance on your terms when it's convenient...the need to cure a problem never happens when it is! And I'm always glad to answer any questions it doesn't.

--Peggie
 
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Likes: miketcook
Jan 1, 2006
6,073
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
That PO guy! If I ever get my hands on him .... Anyway I like diapers for messing around with the mess. I'm not a dog keeper so I don't know about puppy piddle pads. But there isn't really a clean way to attack a head project. So get in there and get dirty - and then throw out your clothes. Take a hot soapy shower.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,122
- - LIttle Rock
I just notice your boat is a Catalina... if the vent line terminates in rail stanchion (Catalina is the only boat builder who does that), I'd bet real money that the vent is blocked because the little slit in the stanchion becomes blocked if you even look at it too hard. So you won't have vent thru-hull to clean out...instead, scrape out the slits in the rail stanchion. We'll discuss how to relocate the vent line to a thru-hull and how to install a thru-hull later. Let's get the tank emptied first. You'll also want to THOROUGHLY flush it out before winterizing...in fact it should be done 2-3 x/season.

Your daughter definitely needs my book!

--Peggie
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,122
- - LIttle Rock
But there isn't really a clean way to attack a head project.
Oh yes, there is: 1. Flush a LOT of clean water through the system BEFORE taking anything apart. 2. Put plastic waste basket liners and/or disposable foil pans under every connection BEFORE taking anything apart.

Obviously the OP's daughter isn't the only one who needs my book...or if you already have it, READ it! There' s an entire chapter on replacing hoses.

--Peggie
 

Mikem

.
Dec 20, 2009
753
Hunter 466 Bremerton
Thanks, Peggy. Actually I’ve had four sailboats and was a new vessel construction manager in a previous life and have rebuilt/installed numerous heads. I also have your book. The vent terminates in a stanchion and although the opening was clear I ran a stiff wire down it prior to removing the vent line from the 90 degree fitting at the top of the tank...which is when the effluent poured out of the fitting. I neglected to say that the boat had seen little to no use the last four or five years so no idea when it was last pumped. I hope the discharge port at the aft bottom of the tank is not plugged with rock hard material. I encountered that in a previous boat and replaced the line.

I also tried back flushing the tank pouring water down the deck fitting. During the two previous pumpout attempts only clear water was evacuated.

All that said I’ve not been able to determine if the vent line is clear. Tomorrow I plan to snake the discharge line starting at the deck fitting using a 15’ residential snake...unless I am told not to or there is another idea. I will disconnect the vent line and have piddle pads at the ready. After that another pumpout attempt.

I also use odorlos in my boat, my son’s sailboat and my daughter’s boat.

Standing by for further course corrections. Peggy, you are a great resource. If this doesn’t work I’ll let you know.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,122
- - LIttle Rock
The tank may indeed be full, but it's unlikely that effluent would have poured out of the vent fitting when you removed the vent fitting unless the tank was pressurized....apparently only slightly, 'cuz if it had been seriously pressurized there would have been a geyser out the vent.

Instead of snaking it, try putting a product called Sew Clean Sew Clean down the pumpout line. And start using No-Flex Digestor Noflex Digestor in the tank instead of Odorlos. Unlike Odorlos, No-Flex not only prevents odor, but it also dissolves sludge. It may also help to dissolve whatever is blocking your discharge fitting--as long as it's not a d'd wet wipe...nothing can dissolve those.

--Peggie
 
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Mikem

.
Dec 20, 2009
753
Hunter 466 Bremerton
The tank may indeed be full, but it's unlikely that effluent would have poured out of the vent fitting when you removed the vent fitting unless the tank was pressurized....apparently only slightly, 'cuz if it had been seriously pressurized there would have been a geyser out the vent.

Instead of snaking it, try putting a product called Sew Clean Sew Clean down the pumpout line. And start using No-Flex Digestor Noflex Digestor in the tank instead of Odorlos. Unlike Odorlos, No-Flex not only prevents odor, but it also dissolves sludge. It may also help to dissolve whatever is blocking your discharge fitting--as long as it's not a d'd wet wipe...nothing can dissolve those.

--Peggie
Thanks, Peggy. Today I will again remove the vent line from the top of the tank and have piddle pads at the fitting. I think the tank just “burped” but I was so startled at the effluent I jammed the line back onto the fitting. Once the tank is “burped” and the effluent flow stops I will try another pumpout. If that succeeds I just need to clear the vent line. Failing that I will go with your sew clean no flex suggestions.
The disappointing thing is my daughter and I planned an overnight trip to Poulsbo, Wa from Bremerton next Monday and Tuesday. I am unable to reschedule that due to shoulder replacement surgery 25 Nov which will put me on the “hard” for quite some time. Thanks again.
 

Mikem

.
Dec 20, 2009
753
Hunter 466 Bremerton
Did pumpout with vent line disconnected at tank. No joy. Put some noflex digestor in tank. Have sew clean on order.
 

Mikem

.
Dec 20, 2009
753
Hunter 466 Bremerton
Peggy, over the last several days I put 3/4 of a container of Noflex into the tank. The Sew Clean you recommended arrived moments ago. The directions say not to use it as a concentrate. Unless otherwise directed I will pour the entire quart contents down the deck waste fitting. How long should I let it "cook"? The directions say to allow it to soak overnight or 12-16 hours. Is there possible damage to the lines if it sits longer than that? I have shoulder replacement surgery scheduled for 25 November so need to know if I should delay the addition of the Sew Clean or put it in Saturday and try a pumpout Sunday. Thanks so much, Mike
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,122
- - LIttle Rock
You won't accomplish any more by over-dosing the tank with No-Flex that you will by using it according to directions. As for Sew Clean, I"d definitely use it according to directions! You might want to give Trac Ecological Trac Ecological Marine Products a call to find out how long it's safe to leave in the lines. Patrick LeClerc is a very nice guy who'll be glad to answer your questions.

Surgery on the 25th...Thanksgiving Day is the 28th. Somehow I doubt you're gonna be in a thankful mood!

--Peggie