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Holding tank pumpout question

Jul 7, 2004
6,259
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I have a really stupid question. I confess, I don't know my sanitation system well enough.
We hauled Bella out last weekend while the weather was still friendly. Normally we pump the holding tank out right there under the crane. This time the sanitation system was either full or not working properly so we weren't able to empty the tank. So now she is sitting on the trailer with an almost full tank. I dumped antifreeze in it so it wouldn't freeze and expand.
I have been trying to find out if my Hunter 30T has a manual discharge. There's a hand pump in the cockpit that I think is part of the system. I pump it a few times and it gets stiff like I'm pumping against a close system. Is this pump part of a manual discharge? Do I have to open up a valve below somewhere? Where does it discharge? I can't find a description in the manual. I would like to empty the tank into some buckets. It should be all liquid. We and the previous owners have never used it for :poop:
Thanks in advance.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,785
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
The pump in the cockpit is most likely a bilge pump.

Where did you expect the stuff to go when you started pumping? If it is a manual discharge pump, it likely goes to a through hull, is the seacock open?

Does the marina have a portable pumpout? If not a company that services septic tanks might be able to help you out.

Time to start tracing the hoses.
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,259
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
It has sanitation hose attached to it and it leads down below the battery shelf where the tank is. I may have to remove my batteries to trace it out. I'm not sure where it would discharge so that's why I'm asking. We don't have a portable system at the club. I had thought about recommending one to the board in the past. I'm sure a septic system co. would charge $$ for coming out. Worse case I'll hold on (no pun intended) to it until Spring.
 
Dec 2, 2003
484
Hunter 260 winnipeg, Manitoba
How full was the tank before adding anti freeze? How large is the tank? What kind of antifreeze and what quantity did you add?
How cold does it get where you are storing the boat?

Not sure of effect of sewage on mix ratios but the rv antifreeze usually needs to be near 100% for its rated protection and drops rapidly when diluted. Engine antifreeze (concentrated - not pre mixed) usually needs about 50% ratio.

Getting a septic service would likely be cheaper than a new tank if your not sure of the answers above.

You can also make your own pump out system relatively in expensively using a diaphragm pump and a wheeled rv sanitation extender tank. Let me know if you need details.
 
Oct 22, 2014
11,341
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Justin.
What are the sizes of the hoses attached to your pump?

That should give you a clue to which Thru Hull the effluent will be discharged.

Usually the discharge thru hull in greater than 1 inch, as they are designed to release some solids.

You are going to want to be able to control any discharge so a manual pump would be nice. Or at least 2 sets of eyes on the project so that the dumping can be halted prior to the container over flowing. Would think you want a container that can be closed once filled. You might be able to take the trailer to a RV dump site. Then your could fashion a hose/funnel system to empty the tank into their sewer dump system.

As far as the interior search you should be able to track the dump hose from the Toilet to the Tank and then from the tank to the thru hull. You may need to have that brave partner with you to help move/wiggle/detect which hose is which. I had @LeslieTroyer with me to help identify the hoses on my tank this past weekend as we installed a tank fill level sensor. We were fortunate that there was little or no offensive odors involved.
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,259
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I'm going to have to trace it out this weekend i think. My thought was to use a covered plastic bucket and take the mess over to the nearby pit toilet.
 
Oct 22, 2014
11,341
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
That will work. Hopefully it will be slightly frozen so that it is less likely to slop on your shoes.
 
Nov 8, 2007
1,229
Hunter 27_75-84 Lady Lillie Sandusky Harbor Marina, Ohio
dlochner got it right. Investigating the hoses for your toilet system is an investment you will never regret.

A septic tank company rescued us from a nasty problem in a Canadian port. They can run a hose to your tank onboard if it has a port to admit a hose.

Antifreeze will not dilute the tank contents enough to prevent freezing and the resulting tank rupture. You need to empty the tank somehow!
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,490
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
You best be finding a method to empty that tank, or you will be cleaning up a horrible mess when the thaw comes,,,,,,,, can you say gag a maggot.......
 
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Jun 14, 2010
1,155
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
If the tank is shaped to conform to the bilge it's probably narrow at the bottom and gets wider near the top - so freeze damage might not be as much of a concern. However, there might be damage to pickup tubes or any "below contents-level" hose fittings that don't attach at the top.
 

Bob S

.
Sep 27, 2007
1,479
Beneteau 393 New Bedford, MA
You definitely want to understand how your system works so tracing everything is important. A few seasons ago I hauled too late in the season to get a pump out. I got a local guy that handled Porta Potty Rentals and he had the right attachments to pump the boat out at my place. He also did septic pump outs for houses. Try calling around to see. In my case the macerator was broken so I couldn't evacuate the tank with it.
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,886
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
This might help, although they left out what I think is the best option - head to Y valve, either to HT or overboard; why put it into the HT at all if you can legally go overboard?:

[EDIT] Oops, they actually DO have that option now, they didn't before, must have updated the article sometime in the last few years, since Chuck Hawley left.

[Edit 2] the article says:
Holding Tank with Optional Overboard Discharge

In addition to the standard deck pump–out fitting, a Y–valve between the toilet and tank allows you to pump directly overboard when beyond the three–mile limit. In harbor, use the holding tank. Offshore, dump directly overboard. There are two serious drawbacks to this approach, however—the risk of accidental discharges (which is why some authorities frown on Y–valves upstream of the holding tank), and the inability to empty the holding tank at sea.

The underlined part is malarkey. Just add a macerator pump! I thought they could do better than this. Too busy selling shirts...:):):)

 
Last edited:
Oct 29, 2016
1,490
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
if it's anything like here (SE MI) it may be too late, it's been wickedly cold here for 2 days and it doesn't seem like it's going to let up tonight.
 

SG

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,629
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
You're unlikely to be able to add enough antifreeze to protect it from freezing (in my opinion).

I'd go to a rental place, get a big enough electric (or gas powered) pump and some hoses, and pump the boat out. Get some 5 gallon buckets and dump the stuff in a toilet.

Most of it is water, next (probably) urine, and the "effluent" is going to be there.

It's a shitty job. But, just do it before it freezes. DON'T USE TOXIC Anti-Freeze. Y

There are three principal laws of plumbing: Shit flows downhill, the boss is an idiot, and payday is usually on Friday. It's not that complicated :^)))). It's also, not any fun.
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,259
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
Last update: It worked! The hand pump in my port/aft laz is part of an overboard discharge system. It draws from the holding tank and pumps out of a molded in thruhull below the waterline. I was able to open the valve at the thruhull and pump out the tank into a bucket. Took two trips to the pit toilet! I no longer have to worry about my tank freezing and bursting this winter.
20191117_111358_resized.jpg
 
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Oct 29, 2016
1,490
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
So you are in Cheney, KS did you purchase the boat in the same area? I only ask as why would a freshwater boat have an a pump out system to dump the holding tank overboard? If inspected by the Coast Guard one could find themselves in a bad situation.
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,259
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
So you are in Cheney, KS did you purchase the boat in the same area? I only ask as why would a freshwater boat have an a pump out system to dump the holding tank overboard? If inspected by the Coast Guard one could find themselves in a bad situation.
Funny you should ask. We were talking about holding tanks over dinner last night. That's what sailors do right? We bought Bella from another lake in Kansas, but it originally came from the east coast. It is a documented vessel, and it has been coast guard inspected. My friend at dinner has an older Hunter on Grand Lake in OK with a Y-valve that has been wired and tagged. Mine has no such restriction but probably should. I'm just glad it worked because our club pumping station was out of commission when we hauled out.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,785
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
it has been coast guard inspected.
What kind of CG inspection? The USCG Auxillary does offer free courtesy inspections and the CG does inspect some vessels used for commercial purposes. If the lake does not have access to the ocean, then it is not in the CG's jurisdiction. The local authorities have jurisdiction and state law applies, which for safety issues and such usually mirrors federal law.