Why do Boat Holding Tanks Stink?

Posted by Tank Techs on December 31, 2019


Short Answer: Sludge

Boat holding tanks typically have a side pump out like the one pictured here or even more commonly, a suction tube that extends into the tank to about 2 inches off the bottom. Rarely does the boat discharge from the bottom.

To accommodate the fittings, the side discharge cannot fit flush with the bottom of the tank causing the tank to lose suction as soon as air enters the top of the suction tube which may be 2 inches from the bottom.

The result of both designs is most boat holding tanks will have about 2 inches of sludge accumulate in the tank that cannot be pumped out.

Attempts at multiple rinsing or backflushing will probably not have sufficient force to stir up the heavy sludge and get it out of the tank.

Covering the sludge with deodorants may mask the odor for a brief period of time, but it will quickly dilute out and the odor will return.

The enzyme and or bacteria-based tank treatment products will break down the solids into sludge but can do nothing to remove the odor, in fact they can create odor. These products dilute and become less effective every time you flush the toilet.

What’s the Solution?

Forget About It For Boats uses quorum sensing technology to consume both the present odor and the source of the odor…the sludge. Because it is a consortium of living and multiplying probiotic microorganisms, it will continue to control the odor and sludge as long as there is food and water in the tank.

The beneficial microorganisms are a living mother culture in the tank, so less product is required after the first dosage to get the same results. It is also no longer necessary or even advisable to backflush the tanks. The mother culture will take care of everything between trips.

Now when you visit your vessel, it is best to actually use your head to feed the mother culture and keep it going odor free and strong.


Boat head odor

Boat head treatment

Easiest boat head treatment to use

Eliminate head odor

Backflushing the holding tank

Don’t backflush the holding tanks

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