New toilet and holding tank system

Oct 1, 2020
45
catalina 310 Coyote Point, San Mateo
From what we've been able to piece together from various threads, reading Peggy's book, and other bits of research we are leaning towards pulling it all apart and starting from scratch. Our general issues are: Odors associated with the head and sanitation hoses; also, we really want a holding tank quantity indication system.

Here's our plan, please let us know if we are not on the right track:

New holding tank from Catalina Direct - they say their new tanks are twice as thick as the original. While we are replacing it we will figure out the best option for quantity indicator.

New Raritan fresh water manual toilet that uses water from the fresh water system instead of sea water, and new associated hoses.

Remove the macerator from the system. We won't be going off shore so we see no need to keep it.

Basically, we are willing to start from scratch and do a full overhaul... and we think this will be the best way to upgrade our system. If anyone has any insights or recommendations before we start this project it would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Dec 28, 2015
1,357
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
Although others will disagree, I went with a all rigid pvc system that includes inline ball valves and unions so I can isolate sections and disassemble if needed. final joints to the tank and toilet are flexible hose. Cheap, strong and easily replaceable if needed. my longest run was about 4 feet. It takes some time to design but works great.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,115
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Nothing wrong with a rigid PVC pipe system. Be sure to get gravity working for you. The line needs to run up from the toilet pump then down hill to the holding tank. In your Plumbing design, ABSOLUTELY NO 90degree bends. Use sweep bends to change direction. See hose below.

@Peggie Hall HeadMistress tells me a properly working Raritan pump can move your waste up 4 ft and over the top where it can flow down hill and empty into your holding tank.

PVC pipe is vulnerable to freezing and fracture if struck or stepped on. Design you system accordingly.

Peggie, for tanks, recommends: “Ronco Plastics is your best source.”

For the least trouble with sanitation hose Peggie advises: “Raritan SaniFlex RaritanSaniFlex hose is the top rated hose...has proven to be 100% odor permeation resistant and is also so flexible it can be bent like a hairpin without kinking...making re-hosing jobs a LOT easier!
 
Jan 1, 2006
6,088
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
I think the start from scratch approach is good. It will allow you to re-think the whole system. You could design for shorter runs of hose and for a downhill run from a loop to the tank. You'll have less waste sitting in the hose which is a good thing.
We used fresh water to flush - added via a gallon water jug filled from the tap. I didn't find it odorless but I never compared it to saltwater. What I think worked was frequent pump outs and putting a lot of water thru when flushing.
 
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Jan 17, 2013
405
Catalina 310 St. Simons Island, GA
When cruising on our boat in Florida we find that the 17 gallon holding tank (assuming it's actually 17 gallons) is the limiting factor in that it is the first reason we need to go to a dock for pumpout. Fortunately mobile pumpouts are a thing which makes it easier. We used an enzyme treatment (Raritan KO or equivalent) which worked very well to reduce or eliminate odors. This next season (starts in Nov) will be trying a product recommended by Peggie called Noflex Digestor, supposed to be better than enzymes. We took two other Peggie recommendations too. Replaced the Jabsco macerator pump (a real POS) with the Dometic T series waste discharge pump. Expensive but at least it doesn't require annual replacement and installed tank level indicators that she recommends: TM™ Tank Monitors | Technologies LLC
Works very well for water and waste.
bob
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,124
- - LIttle Rock
New holding tank from Catalina Direct - they say their new tanks are twice as thick as the original. While we are replacing it we will figure out the best option for quantity indicator.
\\

Apparently I've managed to do a pretty good job of educating at least a few people, 'cuz they've already given you most of the advice that I would. Ronco Plastics has been Catalina's OEM water and waste tank supplier for decades...you can buy the same tank from them for a lot less than Catalina Direct's price if you give 'em the mold number. I'll be glad to help you spec out the fittings locations...they may not be in the same place Catalina would put 'em. And I'll be glad to help you route the plumbing too.

As for the tank level indicator, the TM system from SCAD Scad Tank Monitors that Bob recommended (using a highly unusual link to it!) uses sensors that go on the OUTside of the tank and is the top rated system.

You've apparently opted to replace the toilet with the Raritan Fresh Head--the ONLY manual toilet designed to use pressurized flush water, also making it the only manual toilet that's safe to connect to the fresh water plumbing. Raritan FRESH_HEAD Promo Sheet However it's an expensive puppy, so you may want to consider the Raritan PH SuperFlush instead Raritan PH SuperFlush Promo Sheet It's a sea water toilet, but there's a plumbing modification (reroute the toilet intake line to tee into the head sink drain line..it's described in my book) that'll let you flush with sea water, then be able to flush it out of the entire system with fresh water.

If you like my help in doing all this, send me a PM.

--Peggie
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,115
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
(reroute the toilet intake line to tee into the head sink drain line..it's described in my book) that'll let you flush with sea water, then be able to flush it out of the entire system with fresh water.
:plus:
I followed this guidance and now enjoy the ability to flush with either fresh or salt water...
 
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Feb 26, 2004
21,957
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
New holding tank from Catalina Direct - they say their new tanks are twice as thick as the original. While we are replacing it we will figure out the best option for quantity indicator.
2 separate issues here. 99% of tanks never permeate. It's always the hoses or a poor connector at the tank. I advise you to reconsider the necessity of doing this part of the work.
Tank monitors applied outside the tank are available. You could also re-read Peggie's book which explain how many gallons per person per day fills up the tank and save the expense.
Good luck.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,124
- - LIttle Rock
You're right that plastic tanks rarely if ever permeate, Stu...but permeation isn't the only issue when it comes to tank wall thickness, Stu...the walls need to be thick enough to support the 8.333 lbs/gal that water and weigh without bulging unless walls on all sides are supported. Ronco tank walls are at least 3/8" thick...standard wall thickness from most other mfrs is 1/4".

--Peggie
 
Nov 16, 2012
1,001
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 31 Santa Cruz
Wondering why you want to replace the tank. Ours is a 2000 C310, with original tank. Once I replaced the hoses and toilet (Raritan PH Super Flush, thank you, Peggy), and made the modification that Peggy mentions for fresh water flushing we've got no problems with the system.

Our tank is supported on the sides. I've never seen any evidence of bulging.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,957
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
You're right that plastic tanks rarely if ever permeate, Stu...but permeation isn't the only issue when it comes to tank wall thickness, Stu...the walls need to be thick enough to support the 8.333 lbs/gal that water and weigh without bulging unless walls on all sides are supported. Ronco tank walls are at least 3/8" thick...standard wall thickness from most other mfrs is 1/4".

--Peggie
IIRC, he has a Catalina 310 and Catalina uses Ronco tanks. They did in my 1986 C34 and his boat is newer.
 
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JRT

.
Feb 14, 2017
1,970
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
I'd skip the tank replacement unless you have seen an issue or damage. Also I'd keep a macerator too, you never know it might be needed down the line.
 
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Oct 1, 2020
45
catalina 310 Coyote Point, San Mateo
First, thank you all for the responses! Peggy, it's especially welcome to hear from you, and once we get further sorted out I'll take you up on your offer via a PM.

Yes, we have a 2003 Catalina 310, sailing exclusively in SF Bay. I just got back from cutting off the shelf that was over the holding tank to get a better look. I'll attach a few pics here as well.

After reading Peggy's book, Cathy (The Admiral) determined the head odor was most likely sea life, hence the desire for the fresh water head. We priced out the Raritan PH SuperFlush and the Raritan Fresh Head on Defender and saw the Fresh Head was actually a few bucks less expensive... but we are open to suggestions. I think once we replace the hoses and follow Peggy's maintenance suggestions we'll be 95% better off regardless - but that's just my sense.

The hoses/connections at the holding tank definitely seem to be permeated, as they fail the wipe/smell test terribly. It's gruesome when we open up the access door and the smell hits you. Looking at some paint stains on the hoses I'm guessing they are original, which makes them 18 years old.

The idea for a new tank came about as we looked at Catalina Direct and read that they had a tank that was a, "...heavy duty holding tank for use in the Catalina 310." And, "...It is 3/8" thick, twice as thick as your original 3/16" thick tank." We figured if we were going to replace the toilet, hoses, and add a quantity monitor, we might as well go the extra mile and put in an improved tank too. Thank you for recommending going to Ronco directly. I didn't notice any bulging today; however, it is empty at the moment, and it didn't seem completely supported; especially on the inside with the thin fiberglass partition. - Stu, if it were just you and I, I'm guessing we'd pinch our noses, skip all this work, and go sailing... but The Admiral will not be denied, nor can I convince her to tally up her flushes so we'll likely do the new tank and the monitoring system - lol.

The idea of pulling out the macerator appeals to us as we can't imagine a scenario where we'd ever use it, and the idea of removing a point of failure and capping a through hull seems like a good one. I don't know quite what capping through hull involves, but we are learning a lot quickly.

Plan summary at this point:
  • New holding tank - Ronco
  • Scad TM1 solo tank monitor (external)
  • Larger vent line
  • Raritan Sani-flex hoses
  • New connections
  • And a Raritan toilet (either the PH Superflush or the Fresh Head)
Thanks for all the insights. Here are pics of the current situation:

image1-6.jpegimage2-4.jpegimage3-2.jpegimage4.jpegimage5.jpeg
 

JRT

.
Feb 14, 2017
1,970
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
So if you remove the macerator, I would add a length of hose to the valve that use to connect to it that was above the water line, just in case. Otherwise you are talking remove the valve, glass the hole up, fill and paint.
 
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Jan 7, 2011
2,919
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
As others have said, no need to replace the tank unless you have some specific issue or damage…

I pulled my 33 year old tank out of my1988 O’Day 322 and it was fine…you can always rebed or replace fittings as needed, but the tank should be ok.

Greg
 
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Jan 1, 2006
6,088
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
I have to add a data point to this. A friend who does work on boats as a profession told me about a tank he removed from a boat that sat in his yard and stank until it was removed. All the airing and whatever didn't matter. It stank. Maybe it was thinner walls, maybe it wasn't a quality build, but it stank.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,957
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Stu, if it were just you and I, I'm guessing we'd pinch our noses, skip all this work, and go sailing... but The Admiral will not be denied, nor can I convince her to tally up her flushes so we'll likely do the new tank and the monitoring system - lol.

The idea of pulling out the macerator appeals to us as we can't imagine a scenario where we'd ever use it, and the idea of removing a point of failure and capping a through hull seems like a good one. I don't know quite what capping through hull involves, but we are learning a lot quickly.
Jay,

I don't think so, smells stink! Instead of buying a new gen head, I just T'd into the head sink drain. The trick here is to recognize the smell is from dead sea critters, so you use fresh water in the sink drain and pump it thru the head on the LAST flush of the day. I've been doing this for 15 years of my boat I've owned since 1998, and sailed on SF Bay until we moved here 5 years ago to the day. Our boat was in Coyote Point when we bought her. Many C310 owners have, too. I'd rather use the fresh water on my boat for showering than flushing. :)

I would seriously consider keeping the macerator. You do realize there's this entire ocean just west of you? I loved sailing out there. You might, too. And resale in SF could hurt if you close up the thru hull. Please, think about it a lot more.

As John Shepard is wont to say: When you get a new boat, you wanna do lotsa stuff. Just stop and wait for a while. You'll find 75% of them are not really good ideas.

A new head and hoses never hurt. A new tank? Take the hoses out, clean up and see if there is a smell remaining first. Fabreeze everything. Then decide. That's what I'd do.

Did I mention Smitty yet?
 
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Jan 22, 2008
496
Catalina 310 278 Lyndeborough NH
You're right that plastic tanks rarely if ever permeate, Stu...but permeation isn't the only issue when it comes to tank wall thickness, Stu...the walls need to be thick enough to support the 8.333 lbs/gal that water and weigh without bulging unless walls on all sides are supported. Ronco tank walls are at least 3/8" thick...standard wall thickness from most other mfrs is 1/4".

--Peggie
When I removed the tank and hoses from my 2004 Catalina 310, the tank had a definite stench to it (even after sanitizing the tank several times). The hoses were worse!

Interestingly, the price from RONCO was not that much different from Catalina Direct for the same tank. The tank was direct shipped from RONCO. AND the new tank smells MUCH BETTER!

I am redoing the whole plumbing system and hope to have the boat smell "fresh as a daisy". The boat has been in my back yard since last October to make the refitting easier (all new electronics too). A minor change in plans is giving me until Spring 2022 to complete the task.

Having worked in high purity/laboratory water for the past two decades, the color and condition of the freshwater braided vinyl hose convinced me to change that portion also. Glad to see the industry is switching to 15 mm PEX tubing and slip-fit fittings.

Total cost of the purchase and refitting materials is still much less than half the price of a new 315.
 
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Dec 2, 1997
8,124
- - LIttle Rock
A friend who does work on boats as a profession told me about a tank he removed from a boat that sat in his yard and stank until it was removed. All the airing and whatever didn't matter. It stank. Maybe it was thinner walls, maybe it wasn't a quality build, but it stank.
I can't count the number of times I've heard similar stories...and in every case, the female hose fittings in the tank hadn't been plugged. Those three holes in it were the escape route for odor from inside the tank that hadn't permeated the tank walls, it had bonded to them.

--Peggie
 
Apr 6, 2013
73
Catalina 310 Annapolis
I had for issues with my new to me 2002 Catalina 310. Previous owner had rigged up fresh water fill controlled by a valve. I replaced the hoses using best available and installed a larger diameter tank vent. I also use Noflex digester. Most of these changes were recommendations straight out of Peggy's book. While I can't say which change was the key, the door is now gone. I think replacing the tank and monitor would have been a huge hassle. My new tank vent was moved to high on the port side and I never had an issue with water intrusion but I understand some who have made that mod used a check valve on the outlet.