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Old 10-06-2015, 14:24   #1
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Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

W're planning on departing California in October and cruising the Pacific. I've done research and I'm still not very clear on holding tank requirements. Is it a recommendation or a requirement? What are the potential consequences for not having one?

Thank you

****PLEASE *** PLEASE *** PLEASE*** REFRAIN FROM LECTURING ON WHETHER IT'S ETHICALLY/MORALLY/CORTEOUS etc. TO USE A HOLDING TANK My request is information on the LEGAL requirements. Thanks!
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Old 10-06-2015, 14:29   #2
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

The SF bay is a zero discharge zone so boats without a holding tank with a head that is able to pump overboard are liable to get a ticket if inspected. In some jurisdictions in the US even locking the thru-hull valve closed will not avoid a citation if there is no holding tank.

No Discharge Zones | Region 9: Water Programs | US EPA
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Old 10-06-2015, 14:31   #3
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
The SF bay is a zero discharge zone so boats without a holding tank with a head that is able to pump overboard are liable to get a ticket if inspected. In some jurisdictions in the US even locking the thru-hull valve closed will not avoid a citation if there is no holding tank.

No Discharge Zones | Region 9: Water Programs | US EPA
It says it's a NDZ only for "No Discharge Zone For Large Passenger
& Large Oceangoing Vessels" - does anyone know what the definition of "Large Passenger
& Large Oceangoing Vessels" is?
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Old 10-06-2015, 15:03   #4
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

Hi we cruised from Wa. State to Panama, 2011 to 2014. In Wa. State Coast Guard regs = if you have a head you have to have a holding tank. And if you install a Y-valve it has to be Zip tied shut unless 12 mils offshore. That said we are very glad we had a tank. Often we would be anchored with a bunch of boats and lots of us would take a swim from time to time. I'd glad I wasn't the guy who was dumping poop for everyone else to swim in. In La Cruz, Mexico, there were 50 boats on anchor with a public beach a mile away. We would come of anchor and head out a few miles to pump out or go into the marina to pump out. Yes they do have pump outs in Mexico. Further south not so much but again at times we would be anchored next to someone who pumped straight over and we would end up with raw sewage wrapped around our water line. I ended up getting rid of the maserator pump after having two go bad in places where they were very difficult and expensive to get. I replaced it with a large diapham sewage pump and never had another issue. I could pump out our 40 gal tank in 5 minutes and get a little exercise too. When at sea Y-valve open. Fair winds Chrysalis
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Old 10-06-2015, 15:24   #5
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

Quote:
Originally Posted by YoloSF View Post
W're planning on departing California in October and cruising the Pacific. I've done research and I'm still not very clear on holding tank requirements. Is it a recommendation or a requirement? What are the potential consequences for not having one?

Thank you

****PLEASE *** PLEASE *** PLEASE*** REFRAIN FROM LECTURING ON WHETHER IT'S ETHICALLY/MORALLY/CORTEOUS etc. TO USE A HOLDING TANK My request is information on the LEGAL requirements. Thanks!
The general federal rule in the US is that you may not discharge raw, untreated sewage within 3 miles of the coast. So you have two options: 1) treat it, which means maceration and adding chemicals to kill bacteria before discharge (a Type 1 or Type 2 Marine Sanitation Device), or 2) put the sewage in a holding tank (a Type 3 MSD) until you get to a pump out facility, or further than 3 miles from the coast. If you are within 3 miles of the coast, you are required to have either a Type 1 or Type 2 Marine Sanitation Device, or have any overboard discharge capabilty "locked out." If you are boarded by authorities, they will check this.

It is important to note that the 3 miles has been extended further in some areas. It is also important to note that more and more areas are being designated by either the federal or state governments as "no discharge zones" where even treated sewage may not be discarged. There are web sites that catalog all of the NDZs.
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Old 10-06-2015, 16:07   #6
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

Quote:
Originally Posted by YoloSF View Post
W're planning on departing California in October and cruising the Pacific. I've done research and I'm still not very clear on holding tank requirements. Is it a recommendation or a requirement? What are the potential consequences for not having one?



Thank you



****PLEASE *** PLEASE *** PLEASE*** REFRAIN FROM LECTURING ON WHETHER IT'S ETHICALLY/MORALLY/CORTEOUS etc. TO USE A HOLDING TANK My request is information on the LEGAL requirements. Thanks!

So long as you don't have a head, you don't need a holding tank, otherwise yes, at least while in the US.


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Old 10-06-2015, 17:07   #7
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

They aren't compulsory in NZ but there are 'no discharge' areas
Sewage treatment standards - Maritime New Zealand
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Old 10-06-2015, 17:31   #8
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

Picture the TP marching along the white sand bottom of the blue lagoon. Yup, I've seen it.

I'm not sure I would want to be thinking about legal consequences in a foreign country. Seems simpler to have a tank, even if I seldom used it. They are light when MT!
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Old 10-06-2015, 19:30   #9
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

Once you are out of the USA, there are virtually no head requirements till you get to NZ or OZ or, going the other way, till Europe.

The nasty critters in human waste are neutered soon after immersion in salt water so it is not a health issue if that will ease your mind. Not so for fresh or brackish water, however.
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Old 10-06-2015, 19:41   #10
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

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Once you are out of the USA, there are virtually no head requirements till you get to NZ or OZ or, going the other way, till Europe.
For the very briefest but approximately accurate summary of the situation in Europe:

Atlantic coasts: no requirements and discharge practically anywhere you want.

Mediterranean: holding tanks required but no pumpout faciities, so universally ignored. Don't dump overboard when anchored off a pretty beach, or in a harbor.

Baltic: holding tanks not necessarily required but discharge not allowed; honor system with no enforcement, but these are highly organized societies, so use the abundant free pumpout stations.


And Confucius say: macerator prevent TP from marching along picturesque reefs.
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Old 10-06-2015, 19:52   #11
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

That surprises me DH. I've always assumed most of those areas are signatories to MARPOL and have always abided by discharging tanks 2+ miles from any coast. A few years around the Atlantic coast and the Med and we never felt it necessary to do it any other way. As for the OP, no idea sorry
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:22   #12
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

I suspect a 5 gal pail (obviously used when close to shore for along time) with lid and removable toilet seat (aka composting head) and the thru hull to overboard head zip tied when close to shore should make you legal.
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:55   #13
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

Sometimes I read these replies and am simply astounded.

If you have a mounted toilet anywhere in your vessel, US Federal law requires it NOT be capable of pumping overboard when in US coastal waters. US Naval ships are exempt. The USCG & Auxiliary may board you at any time and fine you for this violation, as well as a number of other violations. Specifics below:

International waters can and do dump everything. There is no maritime international law or police. Every square mile of seafloor holds trash, much of it weighted refuse from US Naval submarines.

Taking a raw discharge toilet into any other country other than the US could range from 'we don't care' to 'your new home for the next 20 years is our lice-infested jail'. Generally, dictators don't like you destroying their country. They like to do it themselves. It's a crapshoot and some dispute territorial waters to 200 miles out. Look up the regulations in the country you are visiting and listen to no one's 'opinion'. It's typically 90% legend only. Check in w/authorities upon arrival. Verify your boat meets their requirements or put in for repairs/upgrades to CYA, depart immediately, or prepare to face the consequences. The high seas are patrolled by gunships for a reason; sometimes to protect you, sometimes to prey on you.

Many countries model their regs off ours. Not all, but many do.

-Dana Beausoleil USN/USCG Ship Inspector

US regulations summaries:

http://media.channelblade.com/EProWe...quirements.pdf
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Old 11-06-2015, 09:45   #14
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

I have a Lectrasan which is/was Coast Guard approved and does a great job. How does that fit into this picture. No holding tank.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:04   #15
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Re: Do I need a holding tank? (legally speaking)

It doesn't matter what the laws of any country is. if you follow the first law of life. Think of the other people. Would you like to be on the receiving end of a wast pipe? Mans laws are originally based on morals. So, separating morals from laws is baking them. WAKE UP!!

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