The "Poop" on "Poop"
Started a thread looking for some info on Boot Key moorings and it devolved into poop. Not what I was looking for, but a worth while discussion. Anyway people seem to want to talk about it so I thought I would start a new thread here in the hopes of getting some straight poop on poop as it were. Disclaimer
: I am not a lawyer nor would I wish to be. However, the rules are the rules and need to stand on both sides. If however, you know you are right, and decide to stand up to the local authorities, you will probably find yourself holding a bucket of poop. Right or wrong, they can make your life miserable and it's always a question of "is the principle worth the repercussions". For me, at 19 yrs old the answer was yes..... Close to 6 decades later, not so much. The regs cited below apply to US waters (and their possessions) only. Most opinions as to requirements are based on the USCG guidelines as they have the final jurisdiction. "County Mounties enforcing, do so with the acceptance of the USCG and with the exception of "Houseboats" may not apply state regulations. (See Houseboat definition below). Be aware that contracts between boat owners and state or private marina facilities that may require approved Type III MSD do not violate the Title 33 Regulations. Some Definitions...MSD:
Marine Sanitation Device. Equipment that prevents discharge of untreated sewage from vessels into the waters of the United States.(1)(2) Sewage
: Human body wastes and the wastes from toilets and other receptacles intended to receive or retain body wastes except that, with respect to commercial vessels on the Great Lakes, such term shall include graywater (1)
Galley, bath, and shower water (1) Houseboat:
A vessel which, for a period of time determined by the State in which the vessel is located, is used primarily as a residence and is not used primarily as a means of transportation.(1) (Note: Federal Definition, not local)FAQ
1. Do I have to have a toilet on my boat?
Short answer, No.... However as with anything their are some qualifications involved.
Did your boat come originally with a head? If no, sail on... If yes, you must either keep it in operational condition, or Vessel owners may elect to remove installed toilets and use instead portable toilets(2). For vessels having a portable toilet, all non-compliant fixed toilets should be removed unless impractical or unsafe in which case such devices should be rendered permanently inoperable.(2)
2. What are the classes of MSD
Type I is a flow through discharge device that produces effluent having a fecal coliform bacteria count not greater than 1,000 per 100 milliliters and no visible floating solids. This type of device is typically a physical/chemical based system that relies on maceration and chlorination. Type I MSDs are issued a Certificate of Approval.(2)
Type II is a flow through discharge device that produces effluent having a fecal coliform bacteria count not greater than 200 per 100 milliliters and suspended solids not greater than 150 milligrams per liter. This type of device is typically a biological or aerobic digestion based system.(2)
Type III is a device that prevents the overboard discharge of treated or untreated sewage or any waste derived from sewage. This type of device is typically a holding tank and may include other types of technology including incineration, re-circulation, and composting.(2)3. What are the acceptable means of "locking out" the overboard discharge in a no-discharge area?
Closing the seacock and removing the handle;
Padlocking the seacock in the closed position;
Using a non-releasable wire-tie to hold the seacock in the closed position;
Locking the door to the space enclosing the toilets with a padlock or door handle key lock.(4)4. What about "Porta-Potties"?
Vessels having no installed toilet are not subject to the provisions of Section 312 of the Act. Portable toilets or porta-potties that use no installed water, power, etc., are not considered installed toilets and therefore not subject to the requirements in 33 CFR Part 159. However, regulations still exist to prohibit disposal of raw sewage within U.S. territorial waters, the Great Lakes, and navigable rivers. Use of portable toilets in combination with a direct discharge toilet is not permitted. Vessel owners may elect to remove installed toilets and use instead portable toilets. For vessels having a portable toilet, all non-compliant fixed toilets should be removed unless impractical or unsafe in which case such devices should be rendered permanently inoperable. For inspected vessels using portable systems, use only devices manufactured of a durable material, such as molded plastic, aluminum, etc., to facilitate removal ashore, securely fastened to the vessel using straps, wooden framing, or similar materials, and maintained by the vessel operator following the manufacturers instructions as to waste disposal, chemical additives, etc.(2)5. What about Composting Toilets?
USCG accepts Composting Toilets as a type III along with holding tanks, incineration and re-circulation.(2) However, all composting toilets must be approved if installed after Jan 30, 1976.(1)(2)(4)(5) It could be argued that Composting Toilets are in fact, not an MSD but rather a Portable Toilet with a rather long cycle time. 6. Is "Greywater" included in the No-Discharge-Zone ?
IMHOP No.... (with the exception of commercial vessels)
No permit shall be required under this chapter by the Administrator (or a State, in the case of a permit program approved under subsection (b)) for the discharge of any graywater, bilge water, cooling water, weather deck runoff, oil water separator effluent, or effluent from properly functioning marine engines, or any other discharge that is incidental to the normal operation of a vessel, if the discharge is from a recreational vessel.(3)
None of us wants to poop in our own front yard... Especially in a crowded anchorage. Swimming round the brown trout is no fun. And yet, we also do not need to be bound by mindless bureaucracy when a better path exists. Hence this thread. What works for you? How did you convince the local authorities you were legit? What questions do you have that haven't been addressed? And so on....
One final reminder. If you are in a position where you are signing a rental agreement with anyone. State, City, Private, whatever... you are playing in their court. They are within their rights to tell you your boat has to be blue to rent there if they want. No use to female dog... Just move on.
(1) USC Title 33 ? Chapter 26 ? Subchapter III ? ? 1322
(2) USCG Systems Engineering Inspection Guidlines
(3) Title 33 ? Chapter 26 ? Subchapter IV ? ? 1342
(4) Title 33: Navigation and Navigable Waters PART 159?MARINE SANITATION DEVICES
(5) EPA Marine Sanitation Devices