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Old 01-11-2016, 12:55 PM   #1
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Best Management Practices?

Here in the Puget Sound I'm a little stumped about Sewage vs gray water and if you can send the gray water overboard. I have read Anacortes and Bremertons Plains and they make it sound like you cant discharge sink and shower water but don't come right out and say it, like they do about sewage. This is from Bremertons Best Management { Minimize detergent usage and oily food waste in on board sinks and showers. scrape off table scraps and dispose of in the trash. Use shore side facilities whenever possible.} This sounds to me that you can discharge overboard. I don't know I'm new to this and don't want to do the wrong thing
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Old 01-11-2016, 03:49 PM   #2
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The following is generic and there may be specific local regulations that tighten it up, but I don't know of any, at least on the east coast, SoCal and the PNW where I have boated.


There are three catagories of marine discharge zones:


1. Outside the three mile offshore limit anything goes essentially- sewage, grey water, etc can all be dumped.


2. General inshore discharge- Sewage can only be discharged if it has been treated by a Raritan lectrosan or purosan or equivalent to sterilize it first. Grey water can be discharged.


3. Zero discharge zones- These are set up by the EPA and maybe local authorities to protect sensitive areas. For example I believe that the entire Chesapeake is zero discharge. In these areas no sewage can be discharged but all grey water can be discharged.


So again AFAIK, grey water can be dumped in all navigable sea water areas in the US. I suspect that the ambiguity you are seeing is to scare you off.


Also EPA regs require that any overboard sewage connection be secured. Some have interpreted this to mean a lock and key on the thru hull, but the practical application is to wire tie your discharge valve handle shut or remove the handle completely. The only place where I have seen a positive requirement to block the flow path overboard, ie remove a piece of hose is in Lake Champlain. They are anal ;-) for good reason and it isn't sea water in any case.


David
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Old 01-11-2016, 04:00 PM   #3
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Thanks David
The zero discharge seems to mean nothing can go over. I'm certainly for protecting are waters and would never discharge sewage over, but as long as you use a good biodegradable soap what's the harm?
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Old 01-11-2016, 04:15 PM   #4
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There are some lakes I believe that gray water can not be discharged but are under local or regional regs. Marinas can also make up their own rules.

Best to ask around but be wary of advice...amazing how few boaters actually know regulations....even local LE can have a fuzzy idea.

Best to go to the regulatory agency with jurisdiction and find the right person.

So basically...you are screwed for finding out the truth.
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Old 01-11-2016, 04:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
...
Also EPA regs require that any overboard sewage connection be secured. Some have interpreted this to mean a lock and key on the thru hull, but the practical application is to wire tie your discharge valve handle shut or remove the handle completely...
David
I find this requirement to be futile. Unless you never take your boat to areas where discharge is permitted, then whatever you do to "secure" overboard discharge has to be easily reversible. I move between the SF Bay and coastal waters greater than 3 miles offshore. I want to be able to discharge overboard when I'm outside the limits. If I can easily "enable" overboard discharge under those circumstances then I can just as easily do it in a restricted area.

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Old 01-11-2016, 05:21 PM   #6
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Pretty light response to this. Is this one of those taboo subjects know one wants to know the answer to? Don't ask don't tell.
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Old 01-11-2016, 05:59 PM   #7
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NO Discharge Zones NDZ

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post

3. Zero discharge zones- These are set up by the EPA and maybe local authorities to protect sensitive areas. For example I believe that the entire Chesapeake is zero discharge. In these areas no sewage can be discharged but all grey water can be discharged.

David
Its not the entire Chesapeake, just Herring bay.

Maryland State Prohibition on
Discharges of Vessel Sewage; Final
Affirmative Determination
AGENCY
:
Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA).

ACTION
:
Notice.

SUMMARY
:
Notice is hereby given that
the Regional Administrator,
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Region III has affirmatively determined,
pursuant to section 312(f) of Public Law
92
500, as amended by Public Law 95

217 and Public Law 100
4 (the Clean
Water Act), that adequate facilities for
the safe and sanitary removal and
treatment of sewage from all vessels are
reasonably available for the navigable
waters of Herring Bay, Anne Arundel
County, and the northern Coastal Bays
(Ocean City Inlet, Ocean City
commercial fish harbor (Swordfish
Basin), Isle of Wight Bay and
Assawoman Bay), Worcester County,
Maryland. Maryland will completely
prohibit the discharge of sewage,
whether treated or not, from any vessel
in Herring Bay and in the northern

Coastal Bays.
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Old 01-11-2016, 06:00 PM   #8
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Just find out what government agentcy in your area is responsible it enforce the local discharge regulations and ask them.

Based on what you posted I'd say you can discharge grey water over board. Which is they way it is in the vast majority of US waters.
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Old 01-11-2016, 06:11 PM   #9
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Thanks David
The zero discharge seems to mean nothing can go over. I'm certainly for protecting are waters and would never discharge sewage over, but as long as you use a good biodegradable soap what's the harm?
I did not say that at all. You can dump grey water overboard at every zero discharge zone.


But as others have noted, fresh water is different and local jurisdiction may prohibit anything going overboard in them.

David
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:17 PM   #10
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Russ, there is no problem with discharging grey water overboard in Bremerton or anywhere that I am aware of in the PNW.
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Old 01-11-2016, 08:45 PM   #11
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Thanks drb1025 That's what thought, but you know they make it sound so vague.
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