Seawater contains bacteria and sulfate. Flush with seawater, deprive the bacteria of oxygen for long, and facilitative (those that can go aerobic or anaerobic) start using sulfate (SO4-) as an electron source. The result is H2S (rotten eggs) and the head stinks. The cure? Either use the head every 8 hours (thus, smell is not a problem when living aboard or actively cruising) or flush with fresh water.
But you can just plug the freshwater pipe into a manual head; water will blow through, flooding the compartment, and bugs can swim up-stream. The water closet, introduced a century ago, prevents both by employing a float valve and creating an air gap (bacteria can't fly, as a rule).
What about a miniature water closet? $38 from McMaster Carr
But I haven't tried it. I'm happy enough with sea flush and a rinse with potable using the shower head before going home.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Over at Sail Delmarva Drew has had a wonderful idea! Why not flush with fresh water - if only while at the dock (and let's be realistic here - most boats are at the dock the majority of the time):