Making Some Head-way

I decided to tear apart the head this week.  The toilet never really worked right and at one point I thought it was going to overflow and sink our boat.  Or, at least fill the shower sump with stinky sewage water (which, might only have been slightly better than sinking our boat).  We tried pouring vinegar down the line to dissolve the clog, but when that didn’t work we realized a complete do-0ver was necessary.  It seemed like the waste line to the holding tank was plugged because when I would pump out the toilet I could hear water getting pushed up into the vented loop and not going to the holding tank.

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What I found was a mish mash of rusty hose clamps from Home Depot alongside some of the more expensive marine grade stainless hose clamps, black rubber hose coupled to white PVC hose, and even a few plastic fittings used below the water line.  Not to mention the electrical tape on the vented loop because the hose was slightly larger diameter and couldn’t be tightened down all the way.  The waste lines were completely crudded up with calcium deposits, and the inside diameter was reduced by almost half.  These concretions accumulate inside the pipes over time when saltwater is used for flushing, and some “live-aboards” have been know to periodically remove them by whacking their pipes on the dock to knock it loose.  Can you imagine waking up in the morning to the sound (and smell) of your neighbor in the next slip literally “knocking the shit” out of his plumbing?  And where does all that stuff land when it comes flinging out of the hoses?  Gross.

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I grew up working for my Dad’s sewer construction company and I’ve smelled some stinky pipes in my day, but even with hatches and port lights wide open, the aroma of holding tank emanating throughout the boat was almost unbearable.  I had to go topside a few times just to catch a breath, and my eyes were watering from nearly gaging myself out.  I think I’m getting soft in my old age.  I got everything tore out of the head compartment, but still have to do the long waste line that runs under the floorboards in the main salon to the holding tank.  I didn’t want to leave all those stinky hoses in the garbage can at our marina so I loaded them in the back of my truck to bring to the dumpster at our condo.  Needless to say, the hour long ride home was nothing short of aroma therapy…

Little Jerry
Spring has sprung
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