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Old 07-10-2010, 02:17 PM   #1
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What is the best way to clean a nasty water tank? Our secondary tank on our C&C30 mk1 is yucky so we only use it for handwashing. It is the tank for the head but we do have a value we could use to switch over to this tank if our main runs out.

Access is limited to a small hatch under the V berth.

Nancy
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:09 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by nauticalnancy' date='10 July 2010 - 03:17 PM View Post

What is the best way to clean a nasty water tank? Our secondary tank on our C&C30 mk1 is yucky so we only use it for handwashing. It is the tank for the head but we do have a value we could use to switch over to this tank if our main runs out.

Access is limited to a small hatch under the V berth.

Nancy
BLEACH, BLEACH & BLEACH AGAIN ........... then flush it through & add a small amount of BLEACH with every refill
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:36 PM   #3
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What is the material of construction of the tank? Bleach works for some things and mild acids (like vinegar) work for others. Not everything can be cleaned by either.
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by redbopeep' date='10 July 2010 - 09:36 PM View Post

What is the material of construction of the tank? Bleach works for some things and mild acids (like vinegar) work for others. Not everything can be cleaned by either.
Also note what (metal) fittings you may have in the water lines (and drains).
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:05 PM   #5
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Depending on what metal fitting and what types I have a list of cleaners. Citrus based biodegradable cleaners can do a very good job as the first pass in cleaning out a good bit of the problem. As long as there is no White metal in the system (this includes aluminum, especially ali' adds the wife) Napisan works wonders on killing anything that grows. Only it WILL oxidize the heck out of any white metal on contact (this is penetrating so don't think it is a oh shucks wipe of or lightly scrub off problem). Bleach works but I prefer the stuff I get in Italy as it is a consentrated gel type which works wonders and rinses off well leaving no film. Than there is taking a page out of the brewers book and using campden tablets which will kill any and all organics only it needs hot water (near boiling) to do it's job best.

There are other options but those are the main ones we use on cleaning for sanitation of anything that is to be used for food and needs a deep cleaning.

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Old 07-11-2010, 08:03 AM   #6
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Some have labeled this as "snake-oil" - simply because the manufacturer is not bothered to go through the protracted process of registering the product with the US F.D.A. This means that it cannot be delivered into the US. It works fantastically! It is IONIZATION of water - widely used but until now, expensive and a complex process. No smell - no taste - no corrosion!

The ancient Greeks kept their water sanitized and clean by dropping silver and copper coins into their storage vessels - primitive, but it worked. Silver is a natural antibiotic - IONS are used (not heavy metal).

Aqua Salveo

FYI - I have been treating my drinking water (at home) for over 2 years with this. I do not wish to drink traces of laundry bleach.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:59 PM   #7
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The tank is plastic. We think that the fittings are plastic and nylon. We don't know if there is any metal at all.

Bleach is really very nasty stuff and I'd rather not use it. All you have to do is read all of the cautions and warnings on the side of the bottle, at least here in Canada, to know this. All of my drinking water is chlorinated so I guess I'm really drinking bleach all of the time. We also used to add bleach to our well after heavy rains when we lived more rural but that was only a cup or 2 for the entire deep well.

I'd rather not use something at will harm the lake water. In addition to the overall environmental factor the lake we sail of most of the time is where our town gets its water. I try not to think about this too much when I'm on the lake due to the 'gross' factor. Of course, it is filtered and treated.

If we opt for bleach how do you ensure you get all of the crevasses in the tank?

My husband saw on another forum someone was recommending lemon juice and baking soda. I would think that once the soda was rinsed out the remaining lemon taste wouldn't be too bad.

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Old 07-12-2010, 12:51 AM   #8
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Peggie Hall, the author of "Get Rid of Boat Odors: A Boat Owners Guide to Marine Sanitation Systems and Other Sources of Aggravation and Odor" and the generally acknowledged expert on all things dirty and grotty marine sanitation-wise suggests that one put about a cup of chlorine into a half- or quarter-full tank, let it sit for several hours or overnight. Then fill the tank, then empty it completely. Fill again, empty again.

Because there is possibly/probably all kinds of things growing in the tank by now, it would be really good if you were able to scrub the sides/agitate the water to dislodge any bacterial mats, or slime, or algae, that could still be in there.

When you run out the water from the tank all the way, to when the pump is pumping out air, you will have some idea of how bad the tank was/might still be, by the color and consistency of that last blast of water and sediment from the tank. If it is quite brown, you want to keep rinsing the tank until you find clear water coming out.

Many cruisers we've met have been horrified by the dirt that is pumped out the one time they have run their tank to absolutely empty. Sometimes it's the sediment that just doesn't normally get pumped out and accumulates at the bottom of the tank. That might be a significant problem with your lake water, even though it's been treated before you get it. Our New Jersey house water is terribly dirty, though not so you can see, just when we look at the sediment filters when we change them. Many years ago, when I was a kid, t used to be so bad that it looked like tea right out of the tap. It was so bad it even made the pages of Time Magazine.i

I wouldn't worry so much about the chlorine - it will evaporate after about 24 hours through the vent tube, and by the time you pump it out after filling the tank, it won't do much at all to the environment. The smell, though, will remain. I find that lemon juice does a nice job of getting rid of that chlorine smell.

Vinegar is good, but not as good as laundry chlorine bleach. In my obsessive-compulsive way I'd probably do the shock treatment with chlorine bleach, rinse and drain the tank, then put in a lot of vinegar (2 to 4 cups) - white vinegar only - and let it sit for another day, then rinse and drain again. That will also probably get rid of most if not all of the chlorine smell.

Although for your very grotty tank I think lemon juice is just not strong enough, if you want to go the lemon juice route, here's how to get lemon juice for about $1.00 a quart. Buy KOOL-AID Lemonade powder in those little packets. Each packet will rehydrate with water to make a cup of citric acid - lemon juice. I used to make lemon meringue pie with it and nobody could tell the difference from fresh lemon juice. I still use it on the boat for all my lemon juice needs. But I use about 2 to 4 cups of lemon juice a week (!).

When we were cruising outside the US we were very careful to chlorinate our water. We then filtered it to remove cysts and the chlorine smell and whatever. Our tanks were flushed regularly to remove sediment as well. More of the Ob-Com behavior.

Good luck. You'll be relieved when it's clean again.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by svtadpole' date='10 July 2010 - 04:03 PM View Post

BLEACH, BLEACH & BLEACH AGAIN ........... then flush it through & add a small amount of BLEACH with every refill
Now that we know your water tank is plastic & that you sail on a lake ... the perspective changes somewhat .... Whilst bleach would still be my first choice, there are alternatives to Chlorine-based bleach ... there is an Oxygen-based bleach available ( I believe mainly used in swimming pools ) & there is Peroxide-based bleach ( mostly used in the hairdressing industry ) ...... both alternatives may have better environmental properties than Chlorine products ...... It is worth noting also ( since many municipal water supplies are routinely Chlorinated ) that if left to stand for a short time, Chlorinated water loses the associated smell & taste ( guessing that the Chlorine evaporates off ? ) ...... although unlikely to be of much use whilst cleaning your cruddy tank, Sodium Metabisuphate ( as used in home winemaking ) is another alternative to maintaining a clean freshwater system .....

As an afterthought ..... since you are sailing on your town's water supply, why bother carrying a tankfull of it around at all ? ... how about installing filtration & U-V treatment then simply suck up lake water as you need it ?
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:34 PM   #10
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Before washing a normal water tank, it has to be cleared. The waste is cleared through the washout device. After the product is vacant it is clean with a easy soapy hot washing agent remedy. A firm sweep is usually powerful enough to eliminate any residue.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:50 PM   #11
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We used to use only chlorine bleach (5% solution ie: Clorox) added to our water tanks, but now we add white vinegar as well. We have "heard" that the combination is much more effective at disinfecting than chlorine bleach alone. DO NOT MIX PRIOR TO ADDING!!!
Hearsay only - Anyone out there got the facts?
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