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Old 04-07-2014, 04:26 PM   #1
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Y-valves?

Hello All, It's Monday, we've all had, hopefully, a very good and relaxing weekend. Time for my next question of the week.

When we do eventually settle on a trawler of our very own, my understanding is, it will very likely be equipped with a waste diversion or Y-valve. This valve seems to cause a lot of heartburn for the USCG and other Law Enforcement folks. Whether it is padlocked, cable-tied or solenoid / keyed, it seems to be a source of official consternation.

My understanding is that this valve is used to discharge waste overboard in an area that will allow this. I also understand that these allowable areas are located a certain min. distance offshore as "no-discharge" zones are cropping up everywhere (and expanding).

I further understand that "no-discharge" means exactly that and even the so-called marine waste treatment systems (that are supposedly approved by the USCG) are not allowed to discharge the treated "stuff".

My question therefore is: should I simply remove this valve, seal the thru-hull and be done with it? Will this affect the value of the boat later? I assume I should then install a big, honking holding tank as we intend to anchor out a lot.

Thank you all in advance.

D.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:40 PM   #2
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Mr. III. If your present discharge valve has a proper seacock I see no reason not to simply remove the "feed" hose and cap the nipple leaving the seacock in the closed position. Before abandoning the valve, service it if you can.
You will then re-plumb to that new "big honkin' holding tank" without using a y-valve. The option is then always there for subsequent caretakers of your vessel.
Ooops, just read Mr. mp's post. Yup, you'll need a deck pump out fitting as well...
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:42 PM   #3
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Just have the Y valve locked/secured in the position where the waste is flushed toward the holding tank. It's something the CG will probably check, but don't sweat it. Your holding tank should have an outlet so its content can be sucked out for on-shore disposal.

A Y valve isn't applicable if the plumbing is directed solely to the holding tank. That's how mine's arranged although there is a not-readily-accessible valve permitting sending holding-tank content directly to the sea.

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Old 04-07-2014, 04:51 PM   #4
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The way I understand it, the thru-hulls have to lock in the closed position now as well. Locking the Y-valve isn't sufficient.
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:01 PM   #5
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. . . . . although there is a not-readily-accessible valve permitting sending holding-tank content directly to the sea.
Mark, I assume your manual bilge pump discharge is above the waterline - Is the holding tank discharge above the WL too?
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:16 PM   #6
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The way I understand it, the thru-hulls have to lock in the closed position now as well. Locking the Y-valve isn't sufficient.
A thru-hull has no provision for locking or blocking the flow. A thru hull normally has a seacock attached to it and that may have a provision for locking.

The actual regulations are available on-line and no doubt someone will soon post them. They are a bit vague as to how preventing an accidental discharge of sewage is accomplished and subject to interpretation.

Just yesterday I had my inspection, this time done by the USCG Auxiliary, not the Power Squadron. During this inspection, my key switch controlling the macerator (I have an above the waterline holding tank discharge and no valve or seacock) was deemed acceptable as it has been in the past.
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:23 PM   #7
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Mark, I assume your manual bilge pump discharge is above the waterline - Is the holding tank discharge above the WL too?
No, they are below the (actual) waterline by about 3 inches.

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Old 04-07-2014, 05:35 PM   #8
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NYC III, it's not a big deal. There are several acceptable methods to demonstrate the Y-valve is not immediately usable. Permanently disabling the capability (remove, seal, whatever) would mean you couldn't use it when offshore... should you ever choose to be offshore.

No-discharge zones (not to be confused with the offshore demarcation line) are around some places, but they're well-marked on the charts... not difficult to comply with assuming you're just passing through. Might need revisiting if your local boating area turns out to also be surrounded by NDZ, but otherwise, not to worry just yet.

You will likely find the size of the already-installed holding tank is commensurate with the size and intended use of the boat... so I wouldn't expect you'd have to go right out and biggie-size your holding tank right away... or even ever. And even if you anchor out a lot, in many places it's not particularly difficult to cruise by a pump-out station en route to your next destination...

BTW, there are two different common "Y-valve" (sorta kinda) configurations. One (I think more traditionally thought of as a "Y-valve") is between head and holding tank, so it's a diverter... leading to individual direct over-board flushing. The other is between a holding tank macerator pump and a thru-hull, which allows emptying the whole holding tank at once INSTEAD OF pumping the whole holding tank out all at once at a shore station. Some boats may even have a combo of both of these, dunno. In any case, it's easy enough to incapacitate the valves to the satisfaction of the authorities.

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Old 04-07-2014, 05:51 PM   #9
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A thru-hull has no provision for locking or blocking the flow. A thru hull normally has a seacock attached to it and that may have a provision for locking
Smarty-pants. ;-) but yes, replace seacock in my post above.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:20 PM   #10
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The only no-discharge zones that I know of on the way to Florida from Cape May, NJ are:
!. Herrington Harbor in the Chesapeake (small area)
2. Coastal North Carolina south of the Outer Banks.

(please add any as I really didn't study the charts looking for them...just where I passed through)

The next no discharge zone that I know of is the Keys Santuary.

So I'm getting a Lectrasan this summer because it just makes life so much easier.

If more NDZs are designated....I'm sure the process may be just long enough to outlast the Lectrasan.

The whole Coastal NC regulations are up in the air with enforcement anyhow...yes the NDZ was approved...but the whole log you poop idea has caused way to much hand wringing on how to enforce it and I hear is still not being done.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:46 PM   #11
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The only no-discharge zones that I know of on the way to Florida from Cape May, NJ are:
!. Herrington Harbor in the Chesapeake (small area)
2. Coastal North Carolina south of the Outer Banks.

(please add any as I really didn't study the charts looking for them...just where I passed through)

The next no discharge zone that I know of is the Keys Santuary.

So I'm getting a Lectrasan this summer because it just makes life so much easier.

If more NDZs are designated....I'm sure the process may be just long enough to outlast the Lectrasan.

The whole Coastal NC regulations are up in the air with enforcement anyhow...yest the NDZ was approved...but the whole log you poop idea has caused way to much hand wringing on how to enforce it and I hear is still not being done.
psneeld, I dont understand your comment. Whats the purpose of NDZs if you cant discharge your holding tank inside 3 miles anyway?
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:59 PM   #12
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psneeld, I dont understand your comment. Whats the purpose of NDZs if you cant discharge your holding tank inside 3 miles anyway?
With type I and II MSD's you can discharge within 3 if not in a NDZ.

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Old 04-07-2014, 07:03 PM   #13
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psneeld, I dont understand your comment. Whats the purpose of NDZs if you cant discharge your holding tank inside 3 miles anyway?

I think it is an area that you must not have the ability to discharge (hose removed) as opposed to just not doing it.

I am probably wrong. yep I was (see above)

I understand that in some places (lake Champlain?) you must remove the hose not just wire tie the valve, true?


I wizz off the side after dark so what do I know.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:12 PM   #14
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Yes there are very stringent "local" rules in some places...like rmoving the hose, etc...

Hope someone comes to their senses soon and reorganizes these boater issues so we all don't suffer at the hands of misunderstanding just what kind of threat we really are.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:41 PM   #15
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I believe there is a NDZ near Hilton Head, SC on the ICW.
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:03 PM   #16
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Correct...Broad Creek in Hilton head...again a very small area....

SCDNR - Clean Vessel Act
  1. In South Carolina, the following bodies of saltwater are NDZs:
  2. Broad Creek (Hilton Head Island)
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:38 PM   #17
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The problem is; How are you supposed to know? It's not like they have signs up.
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:56 PM   #18
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The problem is; How are you supposed to know? It's not like they have signs up.
It's on the current charts.

Other than Lake Champlain, on the east coast, if you the toilets can only discharge into the holding tank, then a locking mechanism, even a cable tie, which is what I use, on the Y valve, with closed seacock, passes official muster in the Keys and the harbors in LIS and New England. Think about it, 1)clip the cable tie 2) flip the Y valve 3) flip the sea cock 4) turn on the macerator pump. Not going to be any "accidental" discharge. We went off shore frequently and found it convenient to pump out in route; though not that big a concern with a 210 gallon holding tank.

In many places, the gendarmes merely test your rig by flushing a dye pack down the head and seeing if it shows up in the water.
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:57 PM   #19
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"No discharge zone. While operating a vessel in an EPA designated no discharge zone, flow-through devices are only permitted if adequately secured to prevent discharges of all treated and untreated sewage. For example, closing the seacock and padlocking, using a non-releasable wire tie, or removing the seacock handle are considered to be sufficient in most cases. For short voyages, locking the door to the head with a padlock or a door handle key lock is another acceptable method. For vessels that routinely operate in no discharge zones a Type III MSD is recommended. For more information see 33 CFR 159.7 and 40 CFR Part 140."

http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg5213/msd.asp

http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/vwd/vsdnozone.cfm#ca
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:03 PM   #20
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look it up like in the link I provided or look on the chart...I know a lot of people don't like planning trips...but it does come in handy.
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