Before you set about looking for a solution you first need to identify the problem. Generally this stench will be from one of two sources. This is either from the use of foul water to flush, or from the decomposing waste. In case the stench is coming from your holding tank, it might mean you need to empty it and thoroughly clean it, or to replace the hose.
The odor could also be caused by using water that has organisms. This is very common when you use sea water, to flush your toilet. The small creatures in the water will die and decompose, and this will cause the foul smell. You can avoid this by having a supply of fresh water for your toilet. You also need to make sure the water in the bowl is not stagnant for long, by regularly flushing the toilet.
Before you reach for a bottle of treatment to put into your holding tank, try ventilating it. This will allow the bacteria which use oxygen to thrive. These break down organic matter much faster than their non-oxygen using counterparts. They also release carbon dioxide which is odorless. Anaerobic bacteria will break down the waste into hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs.
If ventilation does not work then you require to use other forms of treatment. One commonly used method is the use of chemicals. This can either kill the bacteria, or deodorize the stench causing molecules. This treatment is cheap and in some case you might find the chemicals even digest the waste, reducing its quantity. They can however be very toxic.
For less toxic options, you can go with the enzymatic, nitrate, or bio active treatments. The enzymatic option uses enzymes, to catalyze the breakdown of waste paper. This will need to be added to the tank often, and you need to make sure your tank is free from other chemicals. Nitrate treatment will also be used as often, but they work in a different way. It provides a source of nutrients for anaerobic bacteria, leading to the release of nitrogen which is odorless.
You can also add live oxygen dependent bacteria, to your tank. Over time, they will reproduce and colonize the tank. This method is convenient because you will need to add the treatment very few times. It is also allows you to save in the long run, although the initial expense is high.
There is also the use of solutions which contain live aerobic bacteria. This will reproduce and eliminate the anaerobic kind. This method is slightly more expensive initially, but it is cost effective in the long run, as the bacteria will be present throughout. When you choose to use treatments make sure you get advice from an expert on the quantities and specific types to use, in relation to the make of your boat.
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