A Shiddy Day

If I was rich and had a lot of time on my hands I would challenge the US government. Yep!  The idea of holding tanks on vessels is just plain “shitty”. Pun intended.

This would be my tact. I would surely get arrested for not having a holding tank on the boat in the US. (For those that don’t know a holding tank is where all the food goes that we’ve consumed when it leaves the body). I see that municipalities get fined a few hundred thousand dollars for millions or billions of gallons discharged of effluent into public waters. (The one referenced in the link cost each resident 1 cent / incident – not even 1 cent / gallon. If we figured the per gallon cost it would be so small as to be ludicrous – well actually it is ludicrous).  I would expect the same fine; that is the same fine / person that the sewage treatment plant received. It would most likely be a few cents. To fine a boater thousands of dollars when they discharge such an insignificant amount is IMHO tantamount to “cruel and unusual” punishment.

But; I’m not rich, nor do I wish to spend my time waiting around in the US for them to find me, fine me,  and then navigate through the courts to the Supreme Court.  So, we have a holding tank.

Today; or maybe yesterday, I don’t really want to remember, W/ decided that we needed to “clean” our holding tank. One does that simply by putting fresh water into it, shaking it up, and pumping it overboard.  The tank was empty when we started and any effluent in there has long ago expired, but there was still enough left to create an “odor”.  We successfully filled the tank. I changed all the valves

Plastic Valve

Plastic Valve

so the fresh water went into the tank and not the toilet. Then we went to pump it out!  OUCH!

The pump wouldn’t work!  What the (expletive deleted), is going on. I followed the route of the valves, all looked right but obviously something wasn’t. I changed one valve and wouldn’t you know it, now the toilet was backing up with effluent!  As long as I put weight on the seat (it’s a sealed seat) the contaminent was contained. Note: as long as I maintained weight on the seat.  Starfish open clams by making the clams hold  tight longer then they can. I kept weight on the seat as well as I could as I tried to change the valves to where they wouldn’t let anymore backflow into the toilet. Oops!  That wasn’t all W/ said when I slightly let some weight off the lid.

After cursing and swearing enough to make blue words blush I finally discovered the problem. We had a plastic valve that broke!  I had been able to close it off; but when I went to open it up the fingers that grab the ball that rotates broke off. So while I thought I had opened it up, all I had accomplished was turning the handle to the correct position. More blushing blue words!

Attacked with Pliers

Attacked with Pliers

W/ grabbed a channel locks and I didn’t have enough room to grab the plastic extending out from the  ball so she ran (I’m being quite literal here) and found a nice large pliers for me to muscle the valve into the correct position. And luckily I was able to open the valve up. Viola!  The pump now works. Pump a few strokes and the tank begins to empty. But we’re not through yet!

For some reason W/ checks on deck and discovers that we left off the deck fill cover; so while some was going in the water as it should, a great deal was now washing out onto the deck. Luckily that could be washed down with a bucket, then we put the cover on the deck plate.

Finally, we begin the job of emptying out the tank. As she pumps I slosh it around to get everything out. Don’t forget that most of the plumbing  connections in boats are with hose clamps.  And as some of the hose clamps were put on in haste; some maybe a bit too big, some had a part of the wire hanging out beyund the screw. Sharp.  Hose clamps love to hunt down bare hands and naked skin. This one; while I was moving the tank about, made a nice clean cut on the backside of my thumb!  Now I’m bleeding all over, we have towels absorbing any of the waste that entered the boat, W/ getting upset enough as it is with my liberal use of language, and my chert attitude wasn’t making for a pleasant afternoon in paradise.

Somehow we manage to gain control of the situation, a large bandaide, lots of Bacitracin, a few minutes to calm down and we’re back to the job at hand. The tank is successfully pumped out, we refill it again to do a final cleaning, and pump that water  out again; all the while I”m shaking the tank so nothing remains behind. And in my opinion nothing did.

We begin to clean up and put stuff away. The aft head plumbing  is on my list of things to re- do here in Trini. One thing new I’ll add to my list is to replace the plastic valves with Bronze ones!  I’m not interested in having anything like this ever, ever, happen again!

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long


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