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Water and Houseboat Holding Tanks

by Nick Vitale
(Vermilion, Oh)

A typical Houseboat Holding Tank

A typical Houseboat Holding Tank

How do you handle problems with houseboat holding tanks? What types and size tanks do boats generally have on board.

How do you deal with Grey water, Black water? What are the different ways to store or contain all of the water, grey water, and black water.

When it comes time to empty the tanks, how is this taken care of?

Thanks, Nick Vitale,
Vermilion, Ohio

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Reply - Answer

Good question Nick, since many people with houseboats may have issues, problems, or a hard time understanding all the different holding tanks.

To help clarify the different tanks, these are the common holding tanks.

Tank Construction commonly are made of aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, or polyethylene style materials. They can range in size from 5 gallons to whopping 100 gallons and beyond. You can buy standard sizes, or have tanks made to measure.

Water Tanks are designed to hold clean potable water, and pumps are used to distribute it throughout the houseboat.

Grey Water Tanks are meant to hold waste from the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and shower. Often, grey water is either dumped overboard, and some installations allow for diverting into a holding tank.

Black Water Tanks are for holding the waste from the toilet, and both the grey and black water tanks are generally vacuumed out at pump out marinas equipped with the suitable equipment. Some houseboats are equipped with more advanced MSD types of holding systems that treat black water.

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 houseboat fresh water, grey water, or black water tank experiences.

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 Water and Houseboat Holding Tanks

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Washing machine
by: Anonymous

Where does the water drain (black or grey) from the washing machine on a 1989 sumerset houseboat

Holding tank
by: Lucas

It’s ok and legal to have waste from sinks , shower and toilet going to one waste thank ?

Waste Tanks
by: Kim

I have two 40 gallon waste tanks on my houseboat.I have had all the tubing replaced recently. It is some type of leveling system at the top of the tanks, meaning that when one is full, it should go to the other. It is not. I am having to get a pump-out once a month, although there are only 2 of us and we are only there on the weekends. I have made certain that there is nothing blocking the path. Does anyone have any ideas? Also, there is a constant odor which may be the vent hose. I honestly do not know if that was replaced. Could a blocked vent hose also affect the two tanks?
Any help would be much appreciated!

Aluminum waste tank
by: Anonymous

I'm looking to purchase a houseboat that has new Aluminum holding tanks never used. the Surveyor recommended replacing these with plastic one. your thoughts?

Houseboat Blackwater Tanks - turn the valve to send to tank
by: Eddie

I purchased a 87 Gibson houseboat and want to use the black water tank. I don't know which way to turn the handle to send water to the tank and not the lake.

Houseboat holding tank question
by: Gloria

What is the optimum size for a black/gray water tank if you're planning on being out on the water a few days to two weeks?

Thanks, Gloria.

Inexpensive waste and water tanks for houseboats
by: Anonymous

I'm refurbishing an older 26 ft houseboat that doesn't have any holding tanks, so I went to the junkyard and found the configuration I need from the new type / plastic fuel tanks from cars that was real affordable.

I had look at a few until I found the profile that would work for me, and the cost was almost free. For my fresh water tank, I took two from junk RV campers. I hope this will help you.

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