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OUR WATERWAYS provide vessel pump-out facilities dockside, and it is a condition of the dock lease that the lessees honor the no discharge zone. Key Largo recently purchased a mobile pumpout barge, and new pump-out facilities have been added up and down the Keys in recent years. The Florida Keys provide an example of how to implement a workable no discharge zone. Funds to establish additional pump-out facilities in the Florida Keys have been made available from Monroe County through a special grant program. A no discharge zone coordinator has also been hired in order to facilitate the application process for area marinas. An informational brochure and map of pumpouts are available through Reef Relief or the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and online at info.htm, or

Boat Waste Disposal Solution Possible Through Type I MSDs By Charles Husick, Tampa Bay, FL The SOUTHWINDS’ December editorial addressed the need for an environmentally acceptable means for disposing of toilet waste from navigating vessels. As you so correctly pointed out, reliance on holding tanks is not a responsible solution. The tanks cause problems on the boats in which they are installed. Pump-out stations are not available in many areas, especially for sailboats of more than minimum draft. All too often, pump-out stations are either unmanned and locked or inoperative. Waste deposited in pump-out stations all too often winds up in the waters in which we are navigating when heavy rain overcomes the shoreside treatment plants or when a sewer line breaks or the plant malfunctions. Fortunately, a solution to this problem exists in use of an on-board sewage treatment system such as the Groco Thermopure 2 or the Raritan Lectra/San, both of which are Coast Guard-approved Type 1 marine sanitation devices. What is even better, both of these devices sanitize waste to such an extent that the treated effluent is cleaner than the water in which the boat is floating. The treatment ability of the Groco and Raritan MSDs are vastly superior to the more than 30-year-old specification


January 2006


Send Us Information and Opinions on Boat Waste Disposal More and more communities are restricting our rights to anchor or moor in their local waters. One of the main complaints is residents’ allegations of sewage disposal from boats. Do boaters pollute the waters in which they anchor? What alternatives to the traditional methods of sewage disposal from a boat exist? Are composting toilets a good answer? Do you have experience with them? How about mandatory pump-outs? Enforced nodischarge zones? How much pollution is caused by local communities compared to what a boat discharges? What about Type I and Type II MSDs? Should they be allowed in no-discharge zones? How are the pump-out services in your area? We are also looking for information on what other countries—in Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and elsewhere—do about boat waste disposal. S OUTHWINDS will be researching innovative ways to dispose of sewage and answers to this age-old problem. We’d like your input and opinions. Contact Steve Morrell at (877) 372-7245, or e-mail

requirements of the Clean Vessel Act; less than 200 fecal coliform per 100 ml (about 3 ounces) of water. Both of these devices have been tested by independent laboratories, which attest to the fact that the treated effluent contains less than 10 coliform/100 ml, 20 times less than the federal specification. For reference, the state of Florida defines water quality at bathing beaches as GOOD when it contains up to 199 fecal coliform/100 ml of marine water. A MODERATE rating is given when the coliform content is between 200 and 399 per 100 ml. (An alternate indicator of water contamination, enterococcus is also used, with levels up to 35 CFU/100 ml earning a GOOD rating and 36-104 as MODERATE. The two MSDs cited reduce the enterococcus content of waste in the same ratio as for fecal coliform). The bottom line of the specification talk above is simple: What comes out of either of these on-board treatment systems is far cleaner than the water the state considers acceptable for bathing. In fact, the use of either of these devices with toilets supplied with seawater would cleanse pollution from the seawater. We have an available technology-based solution to the marine waste problem—one that would eliminate the need for smelly and hazardous holding tanks, eliminate the spot pollution that often occurs when a tank is pumped out improperly and one that would eliminate the insult to the environment that occurs when a multi-gallon holding tank of mature sewage is dumped into the open sea. What we need is a government sufficiently motivated to not only allow but actively promote the use of certified on-board treatment of waste with equipment that will prevent pollution of our waters. We need to eliminate the nodischarge zones in open and coastal tidal waters and encourage the most environmentally aware community we have, our fellow sailors, to use technology for the benefit of our aquatic world.