Topic: Encapsulated Waste Tank from Head

I have recently discovered (upon my purchase of a 1984 CO26) how the boat has a fiberglass encased internal waste tank.  Not happy with that scenario, with moisture leaching into the hull being only the first of many concerns with that situation.  I need info and feedback from others that have this (not sure that all CO26 years have this type).  Also, I would love to hear from others that have abandoned this tank and installed a separate removable tank.  I guess I will need to do that nasty job of pumping it out and cutting the lid off of it below the salon sole.  Then I would inset a new tank or just leave it bottom of the old 'tank' exposed below the boat sole once I clean the %#@% out if it.


Re: Encapsulated Waste Tank from Head


I had considered inserting a Vetus bladder type tank that would fit inside the existing tank structure as a support/enclosure.  That would have allowed me to remove the whole thing for cleaning.

However, I have taken a different path: I removed the head fixture and all related plumbing.  That enabled me to remove two through hull fittings and glass over the holes in the hull.

Now I use a porta-potty that is cleaned after every use so my boat always smells fresh and clean.

The tank space that was formerly used to store waste might now be used for other purposes.  I have considered an additional battery, a toolbox, chain anchor rode storage, and canned food lockers but no decisions on that yet.

JJT Contessa 26 #320

3 (edited by Virago Deb 2016-07-17 11:55:37)

Re: Encapsulated Waste Tank from Head

I did the same thing a few years ago - did a "headectomy" on my '85 JJT to get rid of the smell, complication and maintenance.   I did not cut the top out of the tank but worked via the existing round hatch.  I flushed the tank with water, then filled it with water and bleach but can't recall what mix or for how long now, but the weaker the solution the less risk of doing damage, just leave it longer (I think I went with 100:1 and left it for a couple of weeks while I was away).  After pumping out the water I let it sit open for the rest of the summer and all winter as drying will kill a lot of cooties.  Then in the spring I put on heavy rubber gloves and took an old, long handled barbeque scraper and reached back in the tank (face to floor, arm all the way in to the shoulder) to scrape out what was left of the (hopefully) inert dry sludge clinging back there, and there was some.  Then I repeated the bleach and water drill and wiped it out until all rags came out as clean as when they went in and let it dry again, and left it sit open for another winter.  I am satisfied that it is clean enough to use for other purposes now.  Probably could have been done a lot sooner if I had a steam cleaner but that may not have looked after the sludge.  Like Dave, I haven't decided what else to store in there, though with the slope to it I think it would make a great stash for bottled water or beer as each time you take one out, another will roll down into it's place - a gravity fed vending machine.  I've experimented with wine bottles and they stay reasonably cool.  As for leaching into the hull, the tank is lined with epoxy paint by the look of it, so I don't think I'd worry about the contents seeping into the hull.

As for the other part of the project, I too acquired a small port-a-potty.  As I am a solo sailor I also use bags that hikers use for "pack everything out" situations and simply chuck them out when I get to shore.  Operating marine heads really don't make much sense on small boats like ours, but the problem is people who are irresponsible with their waste, especially in closed water systems like lakes.  Having said that, if you choose to go "headless", you may be contravening the law.  I also understand that some sailors and/or their crew won't go without a toilet, so I dare say that's part of the decision making process.

Re: Encapsulated Waste Tank from Head

This certainly is a fun topic, and all too common with this boat. My tank had developed a leak which was allowing waste water to drain to the bilge. Joy!  The leak was very difficult to find and repair, so I cleaned the tank as best I could, sealed it up, and installed a new, smaller, removeable tank under the vberth. This meant installing all new hoses from the head. Everything works well now. Since I am a day sailer, my use of the head is minimal but a nice convenience.

Re: Encapsulated Waste Tank from Head