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Old 19-02-2010, 07:06   #46
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Maybe it's just me, but I can't really see how a couple on a sailboat can create more waste per day than a manatee. I've seen these things crap in my marina and it looks like a football floating around. I wouldn't want to swim in either people or manatee poop, or fish for that matter. If you don't think about it, you'd probably never know if you were or weren't anyway.

I guess somewhere along the line we were taught to think that humans are some unnatural entity that are comparably toxic to the environment versus a racoon or manatee or whatever. But I don't recall reading in history that Native American tribes living near the ocean, rivers, or bays caused the water to be so polluted they couldn't fish or swim in it. And I don't think they had any kind of waste treatment.

I doubt there are more cruisers on sailboats than there were Native Americans in any given area.

I think the problem doesn't come from the act itself, but from the quantity. It's seems very easy to see that a large enough quantity of sewage to create a problem wouldn't come from a few boats.
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Old 19-02-2010, 07:41   #47
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Despite comparisons to outhouses over the creek, no one here has advocated repealing laws preventing the discharge of raw sewage. Such spurious comparisons add nothing to the debate.

Legislatures and state governments don't respond to logical arguements, but they do respond to economic arguements. Since the Chesapeake is a very popular cruising ground for non-Maryland based boats, what is the local economic impact from essentially banning transient or temporary visitors to Maryland waters? I have a friend in Florida with a Type 1 MSD who plans on spending three months in the Chesapeake this spring and summer. He's doing that because he can't go to the keys with his other cruising buddies. He would be spending thousands in the region, though if Maryland gets its way he won't be going there either. What happens to the snowbird migration from up north if they can't pass through the Chesapeake, do they have to go off shore? What are the safety implications? My guess is that a few people will get in trouble offshore and at the very least the rescue efforts will cost millions that would not have been spent if they were able to safely pass through inland waters and a few will even loose their lives. I would predict the economic impact to Maryland will be in the millions, I just don't know how many. I do know of at least one person who wouldn't be spending their money there, I'm sure there are thousands of others.
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Old 19-02-2010, 07:56   #48
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Gord quotes:
According the the Maryland DNR, the most significant threat to the health of the Chesapeake Bay is nutrient overenrichment (eutrophication).


Very true...
To put that in perspective...the MTAM gives the estimate of MSD Type I nutrient discharge into the Bay:
Marine Trades Association of Maryland

"...the amount contributed to the total annual Bay nutrient load would be about .00034 or three thousands of 1% of the annual nutrient load to the Bay.
"


Instead of passing laws which would be onerous to enforce (do you inspect every transient boat entering the Chesapeake from the C&D canal?) legislators need to start at the top of the nutrient sources:

Stop raw sewage from municipal sewage plants:

1,599 reported incidents of sewer overflow resulting in an estimated 393,006,778 gallons of wastewater reported in the MDE, Sewage Overflows database in 2009. http://www.mde.state.md.us/Programs/WaterPrograms/overflow/index.asp.

Control farm, residential, street runoff

Control nitrogen, phosphate pollutants in the Chesapeake's airshed, extending from industrial mid-western states.

Restore fish and oysters (oysters are at less than 1% of historical levels). It's believed that restoring oysters and menhaden will clear the Bay's waters by feed filtering which also allows bottom grasses to grow providing refuge for crabs, etc.
But putting a stop to menhaden fishing in VA is a hot, hot political issue.


More laws won't make people more responsible. Personal responsibility requires educating the public. Nobody should
dump, even treated sewage, in a harbor, basin, or cove where there isn't sufficient tidal flow. How many people don't think twice about dumping raw sewage "3 miles offshore" in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay?

Ronbo
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Old 19-02-2010, 08:27   #49
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I didn't notice any links to the proposed Bill. It's not very long.
Maryland Senate Bill 513:
http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/bills/sb/sb0513f.pdf
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Old 19-02-2010, 10:39   #50
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Dogs -
Have you ever seen the runoff after a heavy rain flowing down an alley and directly into the storm sewer, and thus into the bay? The dog turds can number into the hundreds from just one large block. Yes, some pet owners do pick up after their pets, most do not! And you can't pick up the urine! I would put forth a guess that the effluent flowing into the bay from pet dogs alone, in one week, from one large city, equates to more than all the boating community could possibly put in the water in a year, even if they treated nothing.

Cats -
I wonder how many tons of kitty litter are dumped into landfills each week to slowly leach out and into the watershed?

How about Chickens?
Check out a very revealing report made by "Frontline". Go to FRONTLINE: poisoned waters | PBS , click on "watch the full program". If that doesn’t make you angry and sad, nothing will.

No discharge indeed.
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Old 19-02-2010, 11:10   #51
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Despite comparisons to outhouses over the creek, no one here has advocated repealing laws preventing the discharge of raw sewage. Such spurious comparisons add nothing to the debate.
I disagree. They are exactly the debate. If I discharge raw sewage in a creek in the Shenandoah Valley I will have less impact on the Chesapeake Bay then you dumping directly from a device that is in the proposed ban. Arguing that the impact of these devices is so negligible they should be exempt from the ban could be made by many others around the watershed.

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Old 19-02-2010, 12:57   #52
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If good stewardship is the principle we want to defend, we should still protest this silly piece of legislation, because it's counterproductive. Using agency resources on watercraft discharge enforcement will keep those resources from being used on other issues that are of much higher impact on health and safety. Further, highlighting the "problems" caused by watercraft operators allows legislators and regulators to distract residents from the real problems, namely the hundreds of millions of gallons being discharged by municipal utilities, and the further millions of gallons of lawn fertilizer runoff that goes straight into the Bay.

So yes, while it's true that our protests are self-interested, it's also true that the proposed rules are unlikely to do much good. In fact, they are quite likely to make things worse, by allowing legislators and regulators to duck the tough decisions they need to make to crack down on the biggest offenders.

Ask yourself: if the wastewater utilities were privately owned, and were dumping hundreds of millions of untreated waste into the Bay every year, would you really sit idly by while the owners of these utilities shifted the blame and the enforcement resources to a group that caused a tiny fraction of their damage? Would you allow them to use their political clout to distract regulators and enforcement agencies?

We may not be perfect stewards of the waters we sail, but we're a damn sight better than the guys who are pointing fingers at us. And we owe it to each other and to our waters not to let ourselves be scapegoated, and to demand that the authorities concentrate on the giant problems right under their noses.
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Old 19-02-2010, 16:45   #53
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Similar to the Maryland Marine Trade Association's report, here is a statement from Baltimore MTA:


Baltimore County Marine Trades Association Opposes NDZ
:

"In summary, rather than this unnecessary, unacceptable, meaningless, discriminatory, and punitive legislation, the MTABC:

� Supports the continued availability of Type I devices by the industry as they meet existing EPA standards;
� encourages research and funding to develop new and innovative approaches for sewage handling to make it easier and more user-friendly for all boaters in the state;
� supports increased pump-out facility locations throughout the Bay, particularly at State facilities;
� suggests greater education for boaters for better understanding of proper compliance;
� seeks appropriate legislation directed at greater offenders to Bay pollution such as municipality treatment facilities, commercial shipping, agriculture, inadequate residential sewage / septic systems;
� suggests a dialogue between legislators and Marine Trades Association representatives to provide a better understanding of the recreational boating industry in Maryland;
� supports further legislation to actively encourage non-Maryland residents to use our waters, patronize our waterfront restaurants, and utilize the services of our many quality businesses.
� most importantly, urges opposition to Senate Bill 513."
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Old 20-02-2010, 06:06   #54
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Originally Posted by Red Mantis View Post
... So yes, while it's true that our protests are self-interested, it's also true that the proposed rules are unlikely to do much good. In fact, they are quite likely to make things worse, by allowing legislators and regulators to duck the tough decisions they need to make to crack down on the biggest offenders...

... We may not be perfect stewards of the waters we sail, but we're a damn sight better than the guys who are pointing fingers at us. And we owe it to each other and to our waters not to let ourselves be scapegoated, and to demand that the authorities concentrate on the giant problems right under their noses.
Very well said!
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Old 21-02-2010, 21:07   #55
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Then let me rephrase it. At what point should the pollution be too little to mess with? Should I as a single individual be able to put an outhouse over the creek beside my house just because it wouldn't cause any more harm to the environment then the boaters affected by this law. Why pass a law not allowing me to do that? Can I have it if I just use it once a week since that will even have less effect?



Jim
Are you serious ?
Of course you shouldn't be allowed to do this, because if all houses had outhouses out back rather than being connected to a sewage system there would be a major environmental problem. I hope you are not suggesting that you alone would be given a pass on your house, just as I wouldn't expect to be the only boat not required to meet what ever standard.

Common sense and good engineering would direct attention to where it would be the most effective.

Requiring these raritan systems (which I don't have, BTW, so I'm not tooting my own horn) to be no discharge would suggest that all land based septic systems in the same drainage basin be no discharge as well. Think that would happen? Therein lies the inequity.
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Old 23-02-2010, 12:33   #56
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Are you serious ?
Of course you shouldn't be allowed to do this, because if all houses had outhouses out back rather than being connected to a sewage system there would be a major environmental problem. I hope you are not suggesting that you alone would be given a pass on your house, just as I wouldn't expect to be the only boat not required to meet what ever standard.

Common sense and good engineering would direct attention to where it would be the most effective.

Requiring these raritan systems (which I don't have, BTW, so I'm not tooting my own horn) to be no discharge would suggest that all land based septic systems in the same drainage basin be no discharge as well. Think that would happen? Therein lies the inequity.
So I think you are getting to my point. You, of course, wouldn't allow raw sewage to run into the watershed nor would you allow me (or my town) to classify themselves as a group in order to separate the pollution they are causing from anyone else. Why then would you allow a reduced amount of pollution (decreased fecal coliforms only with no other change in the sewage) from a group (boaters) that has no more status as a group then would RVers or even people who live on land that won't "perc" for a septic tank.

What inequity? The environmental laws to protect the Bay are already requiring individual houses and farms in the watershed to have significantly improved septic systems to greatly reduce the amount of contamination that will eventually get to the Bay. These can require thousands of dollars for each house but really only effect a fairly small number of people in the overall scheme of things. Are they not a separate "put-upon" group?

I guess I am just confused about what is so special about 4000 or so boaters that they feel they can contribute pollution to the bay in a way that no one else can do anywhere else in the watershed when there are many example of other individual groups that contribute equal or less pollution but are still regulated.

Jim
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Old 23-02-2010, 20:39   #57
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So I think you are getting to my point. You, of course, wouldn't allow raw sewage to run into the watershed nor would you allow me (or my town) to classify themselves as a group in order to separate the pollution they are causing from anyone else. Why then would you allow a reduced amount of pollution (decreased fecal coliforms only with no other change in the sewage) from a group (boaters) that has no more status as a group then would RVers or even people who live on land that won't "perc" for a septic tank.


What inequity? The environmental laws to protect the Bay are already requiring individual houses and farms in the watershed to have significantly improved septic systems to greatly reduce the amount of contamination that will eventually get to the Bay. These can require thousands of dollars for each house but really only effect a fairly small number of people in the overall scheme of things. Are they not a separate "put-upon" group?

I guess I am just confused about what is so special about 4000 or so boaters that they feel they can contribute pollution to the bay in a way that no one else can do anywhere else in the watershed when there are many example of other individual groups that contribute equal or less pollution but are still regulated.

Jim
No I'm not getting to your point. Why shouldn't treated sewage be released into the bay, as opposed to your raw sewage ? That is effectively what happens with septic systems. "Decreased fecal coliforms only with no other change" ??Isn't that successful treatment?

"The environmental laws to protect the Bay are already requiring individual houses and farms in the watershed to have significantly improved septic systems to greatly reduce the amount of contamination that will eventually get to the Bay." I doubt that. Perhaps all NEW installations have to meet higher standards, but are you saying that owners of all EXISTING septic systems in the Chesapeake drainage have to upgrade to these standards? Furthermore, are they required to carry their treated effluent to the local treatment plant? That is equivalent to what you are suggesting boats having Raritan treatment systems should be required to do, and to require this only of boats certainly is an inequity.

Not sure where you get the "4000 or so boaters", but if that is the number of boats with these treatment systems and they are dumping treated sewage into the bay, they are doing basically the same thing as a house with septic system in the drainage basin.
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Old 24-02-2010, 02:18   #58
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If it is a no discharge zone, will this mean that not only black water is prohibited (sewage), but also grey water (sinks,washing machines, showers etc)

Taken to its logical extremes, the cooling water outflow when mixed with exhaust gases is also a discharge. Thus you would not be able to use a boat engine either.
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Old 24-02-2010, 05:26   #59
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If it is a no discharge zone, will this mean that not only black water is prohibited (sewage), but also grey water (sinks,washing machines, showers etc)

Taken to its logical extremes, the cooling water outflow when mixed with exhaust gases is also a discharge. Thus you would not be able to use a boat engine either.
Personally, I think your hypothetical proposition(s) would be taking it to an illogical conclusion.
Unfortunately, being illogical doesn’t in any way rule out those possible conclusions.
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Old 24-02-2010, 06:16   #60
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No I'm not getting to your point. Why shouldn't treated sewage be released into the bay, as opposed to your raw sewage ? That is effectively what happens with septic systems. "Decreased fecal coliforms only with no other change" ??Isn't that successful treatment?

"The environmental laws to protect the Bay are already requiring individual houses and farms in the watershed to have significantly improved septic systems to greatly reduce the amount of contamination that will eventually get to the Bay." I doubt that. Perhaps all NEW installations have to meet higher standards, but are you saying that owners of all EXISTING septic systems in the Chesapeake drainage have to upgrade to these standards? Furthermore, are they required to carry their treated effluent to the local treatment plant? That is equivalent to what you are suggesting boats having Raritan treatment systems should be required to do, and to require this only of boats certainly is an inequity.

Not sure where you get the "4000 or so boaters", but if that is the number of boats with these treatment systems and they are dumping treated sewage into the bay, they are doing basically the same thing as a house with septic system in the drainage basin.
I think we are talking around each other because of a basic fundamental disagreement. You think the units in question "completely treat" the sewage (similar to septic systems and waste treatment plants which would make any amount of the discharge safe for the bay) and I think they "partially treat" it at best (decreasing fecal coliform count only - which is basically the equivalent to pumping out raw sewage but maybe just not as often. It does nothing to all the other biologic components removed by either the ground or the waste water treatment process see here).

That is it from me. I really don't care all that much about this issue as it will make very little difference in anything. I am just sensitive to it as I had to deal with a lot of the discontent and expense that our small town had to go through to be compliant with the environmental laws that were passed to protect the Bay. I would think there would be less consternation from people who actually use it.

Jim
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