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Old 06-08-2006, 17:57   #1
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Regulations for toilet holding tank

One of the (myriad) jobs on my "To Do" list is to fit a holding tank for the head. Down here in Tasmania, there is still no legal requirement to have a holding tank, but I know in other parts of Australia and presumably much of the rest of the world, you must have a holding tank.

So, any pointers or links to what the requirements are for a holding tank? Also, any advice or tips on a good way to set this up? The head on Insatiable is not very spacious, so I was planning to install the tank on the otherside of the bulkhaed, fwd of the head, underneath the fwd bunk ( which is actually just sail storage area).
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Old 06-08-2006, 18:34   #2
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Greetings Weyland

Here in Queensland the gov is eager to fine but way short of information and specification. It appears they wish to leave the onus of engineering on the boat owner and then judge after the fact if the result is adequate in their opinion. No kidding!! I published an article by an ex police prosecutor commenting on the law including links to the appropriate authority.... a mess. Here it is if you wish to have a laugh.
http://www.thecoastalpassage.com/poo_passages.html It is serious information from a pro, not meant to be funny but you either have to laugh or cry, as they say. A freind of mine is building a new Schionning cat. he is installing a tank of about 20 litres.

Cheers
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Old 06-08-2006, 18:36   #3
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Don't know if it's available down there, but the March/April 2006 issue of Good Old Boat has an excellent article on installing a holding tank.
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Old 06-08-2006, 19:14   #4
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the law here in the states is pretty vague, it says something to the effect that you must have either a means of treating the sewage prior to overboard discharge (very expensive) or a means of storing the waste until it can be discharged in a legal fashion (uscg container require here). Which means either pumped overboard when legal or pumped out a facility equiped with pump out facilities.

My understanding is many places have similar laws or no laws at all with the exception of no pumping with 100 yards of land, but i think if you are going to world travel a waste holding tank is the most economical and legal most everywhere.

I am in the process of replacing my waste tank in the exact same spot, you'll be a little better off as far as the stink factor since you prolly only have the overboard line.
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Old 06-08-2006, 21:51   #5
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On treatment systems... there is an Aussie that has done a brilliant job on that. He was an engineer that did much of the all to frequent repair on the "Lectra-san" and an Aussie thing who's name I forget but an absolute dissaster of a machine. He worked out the failure prone parts of the "lectra-San" and did away with them. It was the auto-electric parts that always failed he said. He markets the system and has approval from even the freak shows at "Marine Safty Queensland"

The Good part is the price.. under $1500 Au which is a grand under what the lectra san sells for here. the web site is www.gradonmarine.com.au and the gadget is called the "Sani-Loo" Haven't heard a bad word about it in over two years of on the market. Maybe cheaper than tanks.

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Old 07-08-2006, 01:14   #6
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In the EU and around the wider Med area the 'rules' vary but it is now accepted practice to fit holding tanks and use them. Some countries - Greece and Turkey in particular - proclaim that they 'police' their policies savagely - although I've personally not witnessed that.

I'd suggest the size of your holding tank is something you can calculate yourselve - ie anticipated days use x number of persons x water / waste volume. I would not have believed 20 litres to be enough.

We've found it helps to have two heads if possible, one switched over to the holding tank for solids and one going outboard for liquids. That in itself can help reduce tank size.

Practically today you'll still see / hear lots of boats still not using holding tanks in the Med and getting away with it - but there is no doubt its a growing subject and indeed some marinas / bays forbid even 'gray' water being discharged, let alone the 'black' stuff.

So that may also be something you need to consider for world cruising? For if you do plumb your gally or shower output to tanks - your volume needs will rise considerably.

We cruise two up, have two holding tanks each of circa 80 litres, and the've proved large enough for our normal needs.

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Old 09-08-2006, 13:39   #7
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Treatment systems can make sense but in a "No Discharge" zone they are useless, so spending money on them can be a total waste unless they make sense for your home waters.

Usually a holding tank & head must be plumbed so that you can select:
1-Overboard discharge when at sea
2-Discharge into the tank "locked" and secured into the tank
3-Tank pumpout via a deck fitting (inland)
4-Tank pumpout overboard (back out at sea, in case you didn't get the pumpout at the station).

Can be a lot of plumbing and valving <G> but I've seen some diagrams on the, ah, West Marine site and catalog about how to reduce some of the many parts.<G>

In the US our CG got a wee bit compulsive (can we say, outright hostile and psychotic?) for a number of years about defining a "secured" discharge, to the point of requiring padlocks on it. They've been taking their meds again at USCG HQ, and now "secured" is accepted as being OK if the captain applies a tie-wrap or other means of preventing "accidents".

I'd also suggest, like John, that if you can accomodate liquids separately that is a great way to boost capacity. A small plastic urinal like those used in portosans, even, with a raw water foot pump to flush it.

If you are ale to consider a total refit...apparently some heads use much less water to flush than others, that's also something to look at. Then again there are heads obvisouly sized for woman and children only...at which point I'd prefer an honest cedar bucket.<G>

There are apparently at least two different "standard" size pumpout fittings, choose wisely in your selection to match your home and cruising destinations.
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Old 09-08-2006, 15:47   #8
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Swagman... yes, twenty litres isn't enough for anything except to satisfy the letter of the law and thats all the builder intends.

There is one more option as well. Composting toilets may have a great advantage. No thru hulls of any kind. www.airheadtoilet.com

Pity we all have to devote so much time and money to this useless enterprise. Boat sourced sewerage is shown to be utterly harmless in sea water, only an aestetic issue in enclosed waters like a marina or very confined anchorage.

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Old 09-08-2006, 15:54   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
<snip>Usually a holding tank & head must be plumbed so that you can select:
1-Overboard discharge when at sea
2-Discharge into the tank "locked" and secured into the tank
3-Tank pumpout via a deck fitting (inland)
4-Tank pumpout overboard (back out at sea, in case you didn't get the pumpout at the station).<snip>
Is it feasible to do this with only one thru-hull inlet and 1 thru-hull outlet? I get kinda paranoid about putting holes in the hull of my boat, so if I plumb it in a reasonable and workable way without having to cut any more holes, I would be happy.
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Old 09-08-2006, 15:58   #10
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Weyalan-
One inlet (which the head needs anyway, unless you use tanked water) and one outlet, yes. Plus the one deck fitting for pumpout.

Bob-
" Boat sourced sewerage is shown to be utterly harmless in sea water, " Maybe harmless TO the seawater...but e.coli and other good critters survive quite nicely in sea water. If the next swimmer gets them in an open cut, an eye, the mouth...they still infect & harm. Doesn't matter if they come from a sewer or a boat.
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Old 09-08-2006, 23:37   #11
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Greetings Hellosailor

Actually no, E coli are more common in your drinking water than in sea water adjacent to a source of human waste as long as the sea water is of normal salinity. You see elevated counts of E coli on beaches after rains, for example (reduced salinity) but sea water of normal salinity is a very hostile environment for human pathogens such as E coli. But don't take my word for it... see:

http://www.thecoastalpassage.com/poopscoop.html

I remember when we lived in Coronado California, every time it rained they closed the beaches because of the run off from the Tijuana river. It was some time before I found out that the river ran with huge contamination every day, rain or shine but it was only when the rain water ran north with the prevailing current it changed the chemistry right along shore so that the pathogens could survive. That is the surfers curse.

In a study of a yacht basin near Brisbane, the authorities were in hopes of having an excuse to ban live aboards in the basin by showing human waste as an issue and threat. What they found instead was that live aboards almost always used the marinas toilets and the main contamination in the basin water was from herbicides the residents of the hill sides (that were complaining about the boats!) were using in large quantity. Boaties tend to cop blame for everthing!

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Old 10-08-2006, 09:39   #12
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Bob-
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract

An abstract from the NIH (US government) on the topic. "The survival of Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Shigella sonnei, poliovirus type 1 and a parvovirus (Minute Virus of Mice) was determined in seawater. Seeded seawater was incubated in the laboratory at 6, 12, 20 and 28 degrees C for up to 40 d. In-situ survival studies were done seasonally (winter, spring, summer and fall) using seeded microbial dialysis equipment placed in the Atlantic Ocean off coastal North Carolina at water depths of 3-10 m. In laboratory studies all test microbes survived longer at lower temperatures with typical times for 90% inactivation (T90) of 1-3 d at the highest temperature and > 10 d at the lowest temperature"

OK, e.coli die off fairly quickly but stuff like typhoid lives longer. The point still being, feces transmits disease, it is not a good idea to, ah, fecate <G> where you swim. Or vice versa.

I've got no problem with the concept of NDZs.
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:25   #13
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Bob

Don't know the validity of this, but I read the reason for the no discharge zone in the Florida Keys was not because of any bacteria in the discharge but rather because it is a rich food source. It seems various plant life thrives on the food and therefore creates an imbalance in the eco system.

That particular article also stated that the bacteria count in the treated waste from most "properly functioning" boat waste treatment systems was less than that in the ocean water in which the waste is discharged.

It went on to say the settlement type treatment systems used by most large public treatment systems remove the food as well as the bacteria.

Seems to make sense to me - at least it sounds good.
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:28   #14
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I too have no problem with the concept of NDZs, but it still doesn't seem fair that boaties are held to a higher standard than landies.

Right now in my area there is a paper mill which is discharging waste equivilant to a population of over 300,000 people all down through one river, into the bay I live on, and it's all mostly untreated. That's up to 27,000 pounds of solid waste that's pumped into the river each day. And that's not even including all the liquids they dump there.

It's just not fair. Granted, all this stuff that is happening, is techinically against the law, but because the company brings in tax dollars, they managed to get permits to break the law. They've even worked without permits in the past, without any repurcussions.

Still animals poop wherever they want, I really don't see how people could make it any worse.
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:43   #15
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Weyalan, check out Peggie Hall's book, "Getting Rid of Boat Odours".

hth, Deep.
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