Tank fiasco

So we haven’t talked much about the water tanks lately, mainly because we’re hooked up directly to the dock water and don’t really think about them too much.  We had one leaky, 90 gallon, stainless steel tank that lived in our bilge.  We removed that and bought one 48 gallon and one 36 gallon poly tanks from Ronco Plastics.  I can’t emphasize the importance of the saying “measure twice, cut once.”  The bilge is odd-shaped.  It is shallower and wider forward, and deeper and narrower aft.  Long story short, the two tanks we had custom-made would not both fit in our bilge.  This error fell mostly on Rich since he did all the measuring, calculating and research.  I was less than enthused when I heard they wouldn’t fit, so I did the rational thing and buried my head in the sand and told Rich he needed to fix it.  So he re-measured and decided to keep the 36 gallon tank and buy another custom-made 40 gallon tank.  Thankfully, the third tank we ordered fit.  Now we just need to find someone who wants to buy our 48 gallon tank.

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Buying an old boat is sort of like buying an old house or an old car.  You just have no idea what the previous owners did to it and there’s some information about it that you’re just never sure of.  For example, we’ve been wondering how many gallons our holding tank will hold.  The Tayana Owner’s Group website says between 15 and 20 gallons.  Some Tayana owners say their tanks are 25 gallons.  Since we cannot see the tank (only the top and one side are visible), we cannot measure the dimensions to calculate the size.  When we had it pumped out the first time we were pretty sure it was over-full, meaning the lines leading to the tank were full as well.  We pumped it out ourselves a couple of times while trying to figure out the plumbing issues, and I think we pumped out about 10 to 15 gallons.

When we installed the toilet and plumbing a couple of weeks ago, we pumped some water through it to make sure it was functioning properly.  The instructions for the toilet say to pump it 8-10 times (with the lid closed because it’s a vacuum system), wait a few seconds and then pump a few more times.  We did that and it seemed like we were pumping a lot of water, though we have no idea exactly how much.  The idea is to push enough water through the toilet to flush the pee all the way to the holding tank.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the holding tank is all the way at the back of the boat, the toilet near the front.  We decided 8-10 pumps were too many and have been experimenting with the number of pumps.

One week after the toilet was installed and the tank was completely empty, Rich “flushes” the toilet then hears the bilge pump kick on.  Ruh-Roh!  The tank was full.  It had overflowed into our vent line and sprayed out the filter vent hole into the engine room and then into the bilge.  Luckily, this happened on a Thursday and Friday is pump-out day so Rich asked Devery to put us on the list for Friday (just what we wanted to do on our anniversary, clean holding tank liquid out of the bilge).  Javier brought Winnie the Pooh over on Friday morning and pumped about 15 gallons out of the tank.  So now we know how much our tank holds, but we still have no idea how much we’re pumping into it with each “flush.”  At $15 a pop, we really don’t want to get a pump-out every week.

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