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OUR WATERWAYS him in the new world with this fruit. The pineapple is no longer a part of the city’s picture. The view is more descriptive of departmental turfs with different growth characteristics, and financial nutrient requirements competing for resources associated with the pier’s rebuilding and enhancement. Some day, the Pineapple Pier, in some form, will be returned to public use. But public expectations must be tempered by the knowledge that grass grows slowly. Sometimes very slowly.


March 2006


Real Security: No Discharge Zones and Onboard Treatment Systems By Chuck Husick This article is about protecting the waters on which we sail from pollution that might be caused by the discharge of waste (sewage) from navigating vessels. I believe that everyone reading these words knows that we need to protect our aquatic environment. I also

believe that many sailors—and most of the non-boating public—rarely think about or know the real world effectiveness of either shoreside or onboard sewage treatment systems. While we would never willingly return to the vehicle exhaust situation that existed in the mid 1970s, we allow our government to constrain the widespread use of advanced waste treatment technology that can provide virtually total protection for our waters. The purpose of this article (and those that may follow in Southwinds) is to provide you with some facts that, hopefully, with them, you and your boating friends will be able to educate our non-boating friends and enlist their help in educating our government, so that the present largely unworkable waste disposal rules are changed in order to best protect our waters. Our bodies, as well as those of all living creatures, along with all energy systems, both man-made and natural, operate below 100 percent efficiency: We take in more energy than we can convert to whatever the task may be; whether it is thinking and walking or turning a shaft as in an internal combustion motor, like a gas or diesel engine, or an electric motor. The unused, leftover energy burns off as heat energy plus exhaust in various forms. Human waste is one of those items exhausted out, and in virtually all “western” countries, the attitude about human waste is “out of sight, out of mind.” Flush the head and don’t worry about it. Someone will take proper care of it, including preventing it from adversely affecting our environment, both on dry land and in adjacent waters. Unfortunately, the real world system for waste disposal is far from being even close to totally effective. We are all too familiar with what happens in coastal waters when, as so often happens on the Gulf Coast, very heavy rain floods the storm sewers, overflows into the sanitary sewer system and results in the inevitable release of thousands to millions of gallons of partially treated or totally untreated waste into the bays and rivers we sail on. In addition, the

Southwinds March 2006

Southwinds March 2006