Holding Tank treatments usually combine deodorants and germ killers to mask or eliminate offensive odors created as waste is broken down. These treatments come in four basic formulations: Chemical, Enzyme, Nitrate, and Bioactive.
1) Chemical Treatments — The most common. Kills bacteria immediately. Very effectively control odors by masking smells with deodorant. Although relatively inexpensive when compared to other treatments, chemicals must be added regularly. They are not designed to dissolve waste and are the least environmentally friendly.
2) Enzyme Treatments — Accelerate the digestion of organic materials in waste and neutralize odors at the same time. Their toxicity is extremely low. They work quickly and completely emulsify paper and sewage. They must be added regularly. They have a limited range of effectiveness in terms of temperature and pH. Enzymes require a tank free from residuals of other treatment products.
3) Nitrate Treatments — Provide an interesting alternative. Oxygen is vital to bacteria in the process of breaking down organic waste. When little air is present, as in most holding tanks, bacteria derives the oxygen from sulfates in the waste. This produces hydrogen sulfide (stinky!) gas. When nitrates are introduced, they act as nutrients for the bacteria, providing an alternative source of oxygen. This results in the production of nitrogen (odorless) gas. Nitrates are environmentally friendly. They speed up the breakdown process and eliminate odors. They require a tank free of residuals from other products. They are expensive relative to other treatments.
4) Bioactive Treatments — Contain live aerobic bacteria, which break down waste, reproduce and crowd out anaerobic (odor-producing) bacteria. They, too, are environmentally friendly. Like enzymes, bioactive treatments emulsify paper and sewage completely. Unlike other treatments, they multiply and continue to work long after treatment is complete. This eliminates the need to add more between pump outs. However, the microbes require a well-ventilated holding tank to survive. The tank must be free of residuals. Although initially expensive, bioactive treatments become more cost effective over time because of bacteria propagation.
Healthy Boaters and Happy Campers are stand alone monohydrate, highly concentrated mineral blends in an anhydrous form. They work basically the same as a bioactive treatment. They are synergist formulated to eliminate odor (not cover it up) and accelerate decomposition. They are activated when mixed with water. Because it withstands hot and cold temperatures well, they keep on working so you don’t have to add more before dumping.