Proposed Sewage Regs to Become Law
Though not written into Canadian law at press time, Transport Canadas Proposed Regulations
for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships and for Dangerous Chemicals has been finalized to become part of the new Canada Shipping
Act. While it encompasses a wide range of pollution regulations aimed mainly at large commercial
ships, several sections affect recreational boaters.
As originally proposed, the regulations would have made it illegal to discharge heads or holding tanks
virtually anywhere in B.C.s coastal waters except at designated sewage pump-out stations. Such regulations would have been virtually impossible for anyone to comply, as few pump-out stations are available in the most-frequented cruising grounds, and in vast areas of coastal B.C. they are nonexistent. As well, an onerous system of sewage discharge record
keeping was proposed.
When recreational boaters became aware of the proposed regulations, theyalong with groups such as the BC Marine
Trades Association, the Council of BC Yacht Clubs and the Recreational Boating
Association of Washingtoneither lobbied or wrote Transport Canada, urging the proposed regulations be changed to reflect the realities of boating
in our coastal waters. Their efforts resulted in a new draft
of the regulations.
The requirement for record
keeping has been dropped from the proposed regulations.
All vessels with heads shall be fitted with a marine sanitation device (MSD), to treat sewage, or a holding tank
. However, a vesselmay be fitted with facilities for the temporary storage
of sewage (i.e. a porta-potty).
NOTE: Former no discharge areas are now referred to as Designated Sewage Areas.
129. (1) The discharge of sewage is authorized:
(a) If outside a Designated Sewage Area, the effluent passes through a MSD and the effluent has a fecal coliform count equal to or less than 250/100 mL,
(b) If in a designated sewage area, the effluent passes through a MSD and the effluent has a fecal coliform count that is equal to or less than 14/100 mL
(e) If not in Inland Waters or Designated Sewage Areas and
(i) If the sewage is comminuted and disinfected using a MSD and the discharge is made at least a nautical mile from shore
(ii) If not using a MSD and if the discharge is made at a distance of at least three (3) nautical miles from shoreat the vessels fastest practicable speed, or
(iii) If not possible to comply as above, because the vessel is in waters that are less than six (6) miles from shore to shore, discharge can be made while the ship is enroute at a speed of at least four (4) knots or, if not practicable at that speed, the fastest practicable speed
(A) into the deepest water
located the farthest from shore during an ebb tide, or
(B) into the deepest and fastest moving waters located the farthest from shore.
(4) In the case of a ship in waters that are less than six (6) miles from shore to shore, the discharge is not authorized if a reception
facility is available to receive the sewage.
For more information, contact Transport Canada via its website, Transport Canada - Transports Canada <http://www.tc.gc.ca>