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JeromeB...
JeromeB...

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:44pm

Post Subject: Upgrading new fresh and waste water tanks

Hi experts, I'm a new canal boat owner and looking for some advice on how to best upgrade the fresh and waste water systems. We currently have a barrel-shaped poly fresh water tank and no waste water tank (pump-out for shower and cassette toilet). The barrel poly tank is very inefficient with space, due to voids all around it. It is also a 33ft boat, so limited space. My thoughts were to design and build two fitted tanks for the fresh and waste water. Perhaps fabricated steel (with appropriate coating internally) or fabricated poly. We'd then need to mount them within the storage cavity correctly, and I'm guessing there will need to be access for irregular maintenance. I'm really just making this up from previous knowledge from farming and construction. We need guidance in the right direction. Is steel better? Who can build / fabricate this? Is maintenance access needed? what are best systems for waste-water? Are pump-out waste-water tanks a good idea? Would composting be a good idea? Any contacts for good companies in these areas? Kind regards, Jerome

Tony-B...
Tony-B...

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:16pm

Post Subject: Upgrading new fresh and waste water tanks

The only waste water tank you need is for "black water". You already have this in the cassette toilet. It is normal to discharge "grey" (sink, basin, and shower water) water into the canal or river. It is possible that a Lake navigation might limit this but it is far from common. If you go for a plastic (polypropylene) or stainless steel fresh water tank there is no maintenance that requires access, only annual sterilisation if you feel so moved. The magazine has adverts for a variety of tank fabricators who will build one to your own design so it fits the space you have to accommodate it. The fresh water tank is usually under the front well deck. Many boats have an inspection hatch in the well deck floor into a water tank that is formed by the hull, front bulkhead and the deck floor. These (and any other mild steel tanks) should be cleaned and coated with suitable materials every few years. This is to prevent rust coloured water rather than for health reasons. If you have welding equipment this may be the cheapest way of getting the largest fresh water tank. Usually such tanks are coated with potable bitumen type blacking but more expensive coatings are available. If you go for a composting toilet make sure it separates the liquids for the solids and that its electrical consumption is within the supply capabilities of your electrical system and charging regime. Personally I would avoid this idea because such toilets are bulky and I am far from convinced they always compost effectively. Tony Brooks

JeromeB...
JeromeB...

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:44pm

Post Subject: Upgrading new fresh and waste water tanks

Hi Tony, Thank you for your reply. We will certainly get a copy of the Canal Boat to see the advertisements you speak of. Our fresh water tank is indeed under the front well deck. Thanks for you advice on fitting a custom tank. We will investigate that. Ah yes, "black water" is the term I was after. We are keen on a pump-out system. There is quite some debate in forums about cassette versus pump-out. We are favouring pump-out system for easy and longevity between empies. What are the key usual problems with pump-out that one might come across? (Sorry for my ignorance on this topic... I'm trying to understand what we might need to design for with the whole system). Another questions is: Do you know of any easy way to gauge how full the black water tank is? I could open the port and shine a torch down I suppose... but expect the smell to be "entertaining" to say the least. Kind regards, Jerome

Tony-B...
Tony-B...

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:02pm

Post Subject: Upgrading new fresh and waste water tanks

There are a variety of pump out toilet systems from dump through via macerator to vacuum toilets. On a dump through you just look through the flap to see how full it is, with the others you need a gauge or just maybe an inclinometer on a bulkhead to indicate the list of the boat with a full tank. Personally I would make the pump out tank of thick mild steel because stainless and plastic occasionally crack and I don't mind fresh water in the bilge but not the contents of the black tank! Macerator and Vacuum toles require a reliable electrical supply because if you get flat batteries they stop working but dump throughs can smell so you need to make your own decisions. Unless the waste tank also acts as a vacuum tank it is important to bet plenty of fresh air over the effluent so plan two LARGE breather vents through the hull.I would say a minimum of 1" dia but 2 inches would be better. I fitted a 12v computer fan into one of my vents so it is used to purge the tank of smells. I use a pneumatic time switch designed for hall/landing lighting to control it. Push the switch when you sit down or open the lid and it pulls a lot of the small form the tank. I would advise that you avoid Elasn Blue at all costs, stick with a biological tank fluid. Many say there is no smell when such fluid are working. Unless you can site the tank so a dump through sits on top of it you will be limited to a vacuum or macerator toilet. Lesan supply ready made "standard" tanks of plastic. Tony Brooks

JeromeB...
JeromeB...

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:58am

Post Subject: Upgrading new fresh and waste water tanks

Hi Tony, Thanks again for your advice. We are quickly narrowing down our possibilities, and will likely go for a vacuum toilet (probably a Lavac hand pump system), a vented holding tank, and a two-way system that allows the vacuum pump to be used for both the toilet flush and pump out to elsan facility. We really appreciate your advice. Kind regards, Jerome

Tony-B...
Tony-B...

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:39pm

Post Subject: Upgrading new fresh and waste water tanks

Take great care. Many Elsan points can not accept tank pump outs and are marked as such. Also, from what I read in other places, it is not that uncommon to find Elsan points out of order. I would advise against being wholly dependant upon self pump out systems - at least with a cassette you can bury the contents if you have to. Tony Brooks

JeromeB...
JeromeB...

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:38pm

Post Subject: Upgrading new fresh and waste water tanks

Ah ok. Thanks for the heads up. We will keep our current cassette toilet as back-up. Cheers, Jerome

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