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Removing Black Septic Waste Tanks on Houseboats with just a little Humor

by Rick

Removing Black Septic Waste Tanks on Houseboats

Removing Black Septic Waste Tanks on Houseboats

I've been living on a houseboat for about 7 months and every day brings a new story, some more crazy than others. Here's one that should get you going.

I am 30 yrs old and just left actually lost my house due to the economy. I left a career in Physics teaching, and decided to live in a boat mainly because of cost. My thoughts were " maybe it'd be a good transition period ." It was more than that..but that's not the story.

Low tide happens every six hours or so here in Rhode Island so as houseboat liveaboards know there is usually a distinctive sewer smell during this time. Not horrible, I actually kind of like it because it reminds me of when I was little and digging clams from the beach.

One particular night in December I picked up on a very bad low tide smell. Just one problem. It wasn't low tide and the cold crisp air of December usually lessens the effect of the smell.

Long story short. It was my holding tank. My tank is kept in the bow of the boat. The builder of Holiday Mansion decided to BUILD the tank in. So first step was to cut a hole to get the sucker out.

I could only cut the hole so big, 22 x 32. The tank was 21 x 31.5. Talk about cutting it close. I began to pull the tank out but realized my fingers took up too much space between where the wall where the tank had to slide out.

Mind you, it's now about three in the morning and 22 degrees outside. This will come into play later. So, the only way to get the tank out was to slide my 6 foot 200 lb body into the little hole and get behind the tank and push it through the hole.

Keep in mind the reason why I was doing this in the first place was because the tank had rotted through the bottom and sides. Just think for a moment about the smells and sights. Had it been summer this whole process would have been really intensified.

The tank weighed about 65 lbs with the left over feces that couldn't be pumped. It popped out and hit the floor and I began pulling it up the spiral staircase stair by stinky stair. Finally I managed to get it to the sliding glass door and out onto the gunnel where
it teetered.

I was sitting next to it waiting for the wind to blow the boat toward the dock so there wasn't such a big gap between the dock and the boat. No such wind came. So I leaped for it leaving one hand on the teetering tank but the weight of it was too much and it fell in the water.

Here I am trying to pull a tank which is now filling with water, onto a dock by myself in the middle of the night. It was just too heavy. I looked to my left and then to my right and decided to drown it.

Two thoughts entered my head. Titanic and Crime scene. It didn't take long for the tank to burp it's last bubble. I just hope it doesn't pop up somewhere close by.

That's my funny story on removing a septic black water waste tank in the middle of the night, something I will never forget. Would you?

I still laugh about it, Rick.

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Reply - Answer

Well Rick, your story had me laughing so hard I was peeing my pants, not at you, but because I have been in the same situation... :)

Some people think that TV's, Bimini's, Patio Furniture etc... are important on a houseboat, NO, a good septic tank ranks number 1 in my book.

Again, thanks for making me laugh, and I hope your new tank is doing well.

PS: On a side note, when the time comes to be emptying or pumping-out the holding tank on your houseboat, the thought of it makes people cringe. There has to be a better way to handle the whole process, and there is, it’s a new pump-out adapter designed for houseboats.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share and post comments about their experiences with Black Septic Waste Tanks on Houseboats?

Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Removing Black Septic Waste Tanks on Houseboats with just a little Humor

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Thanks for the Funny Houseboat Story
by: Ray

Rick, I'm LMAO (laughing my ass off) as that was one funny story although I'm sure you wouldn't have agreed on that cold night at 3 in the morning.

My boat does not have a holding tank but I am going to install one this spring just to be on the safe side,along with new and larger fresh water tanks.

Your story has given me some insight on how NOT to install them. Thanks for the good laugh. Ray.

Houseboat Head - blackwater storage
by: Anonymous

Have you considered a composting toilet? The holding tank is small but good for one to two months before emptying. It uses peat moss for composting agent which can be disposed in a plastic bag in a dumpster. Or as a plant growing median.

The toilet has very little odor and is vented outside. The liquid is deposited in a two gallon tank which is easy to dispose of since urine is sterile.

Houseboat Errors - human waste overboard
by: Larry in Arkansas

I hope you will reconsider your decision to leave this tank below your boat. If everyone did this, there would not be clean water for anyone. At least you were not in a fresh water marina!

Remember, we are all upstream from someone who wants clean water, and we are all downstream from someone else you hope wants clean water.

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