Chemical toilets - how often and where do you empty them?

Refueler

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Well that's a well thought out intellectual argument...

When I purchased my boat it had a sea toilet that smelt...

I pulled it all out, cleaned it, serviced all the parts and replaced all the consumables. I also replaced all the pipe work with sanitary grade pipe.

Within a few weeks it smelt...

Crew blocked it with loo paper and it exploded in my face when I tried to clear it.
Sorted that out and it constantly gave me issues so in the end I replaced it with a portapotty.
No hassel, no faffing about with sea cocks, no pumping, no poo going into the sea. Win, win, win, as far as I'm concerned.

A good few members of my club have done the same...

But each to their own...
Something definitely wrong there then ....

Sorry to say it - but the problems are not because of the loo - but fault of users ....

I have two boats out there now ... one with Baby Blake and other Jabsco ...... both have no smells .. don't block .... work as intended.
 

Andrew_Trayfoot

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As I said each to there own....
I don't think I've ever been on a boat with a sea toilet that did not have that sulphur smell in the heads to some degree.

Still maybe I have a sensitive nose. :)
 

Refueler

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As I said each to there own....
I don't think I've ever been on a boat with a sea toilet that did not have that sulphur smell in the heads to some degree.

Still maybe I have a sensitive nose. :)

My smell sense is acute ... and I can say with all honesty that my boats do not smell ....

The trick is of course to make sure pump out strokes are enough to clear the waste and then some ...
 

Fr J Hackett

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Well that's a well thought out intellectual argument...

When I purchased my boat it had a sea toilet that smelt...

I pulled it all out, cleaned it, serviced all the parts and replaced all the consumables. I also replaced all the pipe work with sanitary grade pipe.

Within a few weeks it smelt...

Crew blocked it with loo paper and it exploded in my face when I tried to clear it.
Sorted that out and it constantly gave me issues so in the end I replaced it with a portapotty.
No hassel, no faffing about with sea cocks, no pumping, no poo going into the sea. Win, win, win, as far as I'm concerned.

A good few members of my club have done the same...

But each to their own...
As Refueller says the problem is down to users, one of the issues is in not pumping enough to clear the pipes and often require a large number of strokes. As for blocking with paper the crew need to understand how to use it and how much to use and most people don't seem to have any such problems. The exploding problem was no doubt caused by over pressurising and trying to force the blockage through again what one could describe as user error or lack of understanding. There is also the problem of a sulphurous smell after standing for some time that can be cured or overcome simply by flushing the toilet and pipes with fresh water and then closing the outlet valve. There is a world of information about the use and maintenance of sea toilets of all types for those prepared to look for it.
A chemical toilet with all the handling that it requires and inconvenience other than for small boats that cannot accommodate a sea toilet is enough reason for most not to venture down that path but to seek to master the sea toilet like 99.99% of others do.
 

Refueler

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Wife is moaning that my new MoBo has no toilet ..... to fit a sea-toilet would be difficult to accommodate without destroying the overall cabin space. Its obvious that a Chemy Loo will be the answer ... with a curtain across the cabin for privacy. Thee is already a curtain runner attached to deckhead - so maybe it used to have a Chemy Loo ....

Here in Latvia - when you register a boat - one of the no-no's is a pump out to sea toilet ... its required Holding Tank or Chemical Loo. But problem is lack of pump out facilities !
 

Fr J Hackett

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Wife is moaning that my new MoBo has no toilet ..... to fit a sea-toilet would be difficult to accommodate without destroying the overall cabin space. Its obvious that a Chemy Loo will be the answer ... with a curtain across the cabin for privacy. Thee is already a curtain runner attached to deckhead - so maybe it used to have a Chemy Loo ....

Here in Latvia - when you register a boat - one of the no-no's is a pump out to sea toilet ... its required Holding Tank or Chemical Loo. But problem is lack of pump out facilities !
A case of needs must then and a problem of the Baltic, for me however it would just be a reason not to have the boat, I gave up camping and wearing hair shirts many many years ago, I like my creature comforts.
 

Refueler

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A case of needs must then and a problem of the Baltic, for me however it would just be a reason not to have the boat, I gave up camping and wearing hair shirts many many years ago, I like my creature comforts.

Both my sail boats have pump outs - with change-over to holding.

Maybe I'm a one-off ... but TBH - I am not one who likes to do 'big job' in a boat loo ... I only do if absolutely necessary ...
 

thinwater

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This thread really needs to turn to composting/desiccating toilets. I've had chem toilets and desiccating toilets, and desiccating toilets are WAY better.
  • Much less odor. Less than most holding tanks systems.
  • Can't clog. Nothing to service or break.
  • Easier to empty. Double bag it and put it in the bin on the way to the car.
  • Lighter. You don't have all the liquid, just a little light absorbent.
  • Won't freeze in the winter.
I like holding tanks systems fine. But if the boat is too small, this is the way to go. My cat had a holding tank, my try had a chem toilet, and we ditched it for this. There are a few trick. Shredded aspen is the best absorbant. Pour either a little vinegar or citric acid in the pee tank first to keep it from going off.

DIY desiccating head
21b.+head+on+dock.jpg
 

stelican

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The Americans (God bless them) do a conversion kit for porta pottiesfor overboard discharge.
As for leaving to brew for 4 weeks would probably have the advantage of self emptying.
🤢
 

Refueler

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The Americans (God bless them) do a conversion kit for porta pottiesfor overboard discharge.
As for leaving to brew for 4 weeks would probably have the advantage of self emptying.
🤢

Just a bit off direct topic ....

My house in Ventspils on the River Venta - has septic tanks that require emptying every so often.

Town Water Co - offered 4 alternative solutions couple of years ago .... (my system has been in use for near 20yrs) ...

1. Connect to town system and fill in the tanks.
2. Retain present system where water filters out and truck empties the remains.
3. Sealed tanks that truck takes all - water and **** - requires more frequent service and hugely expensive tanks
4. Connect my tanks via chemical treatment system and empty to river.

I was shocked at #4 ... and totally refused. I elected to retain #2 ... but recently am considering #1 .....
 

DoubleEnder

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My last boat had a Lavac, no holding tank. Never blocked. Never smelt in 17 years. Brilliant. Though perhaps not accurately described as offering creature comforts.

But where there is less space, and maybe an old and leaky sea toilet is fitted, then actually sealing up the through hulls and fitting a self contained unit makes sense. To me. And it does seem to be a course that a number of small, economical boats/owners are taking. For a small boat, with a small crew of occasional sailors I think it is sensible. Though a bucket is also sensible. Not to mention the legendary Chatham Swan…..

I think the composting units are interesting but I think they require even more detailed instructions than sea toilets. Fine if only used by regular customers but tricky for newbies.
 

davidpbo

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We had a 24ft boat with a Porta Potti 365 loo in a functional heads compartment.. We used the blue chemical in the receptacle tank if we had access to emptying facilities - a dedicated facility on Windermere, very few dedicated facilities on the Clyde so emptied into toilets which is possible to do without making a mess.

If we thought we would have to empty it over the side we did not put chemicals in. I found the green chemicals pretty useless.

It would do two of us two days without access to other toilets. No rules about what it was used for and when. No real issues with odours, especially if a film of water was left on top of the blade which sealed the bottom tank.

I thought that a lot of boats in the marinas with people on board did not seem to move or use the pump out facilities.
 

Andrew_Trayfoot

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Chemical toilets also smell, require management, and have the potential for misuse.
Nothing is perfect, but on balance it works for me.

I have a 26' boat which would require a lot if work and sacrifice of locker space to fit a holding tank.

Most people I know that do have a holding tank sail a mile or two off shore and dump it there...

My waste goes down the loo at a marina or into a proper disposal point if there is one....

I have never had a great experience with sea toilets. The chemical toilet is simple, clean, and has very little to go wrong.

Works for me as long as the father in law remembers to shut the flap!
 

Refueler

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An earlier post shows 'composting version' of toilet .... UGH !!

While stripping out woodwork in my latest acquisition - I found such a bucket crapper under the vee berth insert. I have to say that I am definitely not impressed and once its lifted out - cleaned and put back - I sincerely hope that no-one ever wants to use it ...

I cannot honestly think of anything as bad that purports to be a solution to the bog question ... at least a bucket and chuck-it is honest and straight forward. But this is something else !
 
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