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Old 16-12-2010, 07:28   #1
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Waste Treatment in Bermuda and Bahamas

I have discovered the holding tank on the boat I just bought is beyond repair, and a major job to remove and replace. So Iím considering the Electro Scan treatment system from Raritan, which in The US negates the use of a tank. However, does anyone know if this is approved in Bermuda and The Bahamas, both places we would like to cruise next year? Or indeed, if there are any regulations at all in those places. Believe it or not, Raritan canít tell me.
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:24   #2
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The bad news is that the treatment system does not negate the use of a tank everywhere in the US. More and more areas of the US coast are being declared no discharge zones, which makes it illegal to use the Electro San devices in those areas. Here in NC, New Hanover county (Area around Wilmington) has been declared a no discharge zone. The entire Florida Keys, and many other areas as indicated on the navigational charts are also no discharge zones. In those areas you'll need to have a holding tank anyway. In the Bahamas the regulations are not very clear on the matter. Some of the National Parks and Elizabeth Harbor at Great Exuma have been declared no discharge zones, but it is not clear if that applies only to raw sewage or treated as well. Bahamian antipollution laws are not clear in the areas other than those no discharge zones. Reading the law it can pretty much be inferred that one cannot discharge anything into Bahamian waters anywhere, but it certainly doesn't seem to be enforced that way. There is no clear statement such as the US has that prohibits discharge of raw sewage within 3 miles of land, for instance. The law simply prohibits discharge of raw sewage from any "premises". It then goes on to define premises and one of those is a boat. It at one point refers to coastal waters, but does not define coastal waters. Very confusing as written, but certainly not enforced anywhere as far as I can tell. There's currently another thread on this forum that is discussing current attempts to enforce the no discharge zone in Great Exuma.

I can't speak to Bermuda's regulations.

Good Luck, but I would suggest that if you plan on cruising the US east coast that you at least install a small holding tank as well as the Electro San to get you through the no discharge zones.
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Old 16-12-2010, 09:36   #3
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You must have a holding tank system if you plan on entering the USA - "must" because States like Florida have "potty laws" that address "locking" and a myriad of other rules and reg's all built around the words "holding tanks". Also depending upon the date the boat was built, US Federal law mandates installation and use of holding tanks.
- - Retro-fitting holding tanks is not difficult and can be done with flexible bladder tanks or installation of rigid poly tanks easily available from marine boat parts suppliers and specialized tank builders. There are some in Trinidad, and many other islands in the Caribbean.
- - As to the Bahamas, I would be doubtful that any serious inspections or enforcement will be forthcoming regardless of "copy-cat" laws for "no-discharge zones." There just isn't any money available in these little countries for such things. However, if you piss someone off they can use the new "reg's" as one more thing against you.
- - So go ahead and replace or refurbish the existing system now and not have to worry next year about where you can and cannot go with the boat.
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Old 16-12-2010, 09:56   #4
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Have you considered a composting toilet?

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Old 16-12-2010, 11:17   #5
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Not my boat, nor any other privately owned boat that I know of, is fitted with a holding tank in Bermuda.
I know of no pump-out stations for private vessels.
Cruise ships connect to municipal systems while in port.
Waste is treated, I don't know to what degree, and is then discharged thru diffuser piping well off shore.
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Old 16-12-2010, 11:24   #6
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Raritan has a "Hold n Treat" system that would work.

Raritan Engineering | Waste Treatment | Hold n' Treat
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Old 16-12-2010, 11:29   #7
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I don't know what the law is in Bermuda, but I do know that in St. George's Harbor there was nowhere to pump out. This was 2007 and one of the boats in our rally had a full holding tank.

I would recommend a Lectra San anyway. The world would be a cleaner place if every boat had one. There have been studies affirming the ability of the Lectra san to treat sewage to a degree sufficient to make it harmless to the aquatic environment. (So I hear...doubters chime in) I suspect it is cleaner than many municipal treatment systems.


It may be that the reason it is not accepted in the no discharge zones is that there is no way to know if the unit is working properly with a functioning battery. If you baterry is dead the unit will not be doing its job. Also, there are a certain number of pumps per cycle, and so if someone ignored that they would, in effect, be bypassing the Lectra San. So it would be difficult to monitor. We have a Lectra San that we run to our holding tank. When we are away from No Discharge zones we can bypass the holding tank.

So the bottom line is, it may not help you keep from installing a holding tank, but it is a good device to have if you care about the environment.
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Old 16-12-2010, 12:24   #8
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Thanks for Jolly Roger

Thanks everyone for your quick replies: Much food for thought.
My hope was to leave the forward and aft toilets discharging into the holding tank, which is the way they are currently plumbed. Use a pump-out facility in port, but if one was not available we could legally empty it, at least partially, using a single Electro Scan. If we were approaching a no-discharge area, (which I did not realize were so prevalent), we would empty it using the Electro Scan, then at sea we bypass the ES and discharge direct. This would seem to be all things to all peopleóexcept for the damn holding tank! which last weekend I found was full of holes! It was made of aluminum in 1977 and will be really difficult to cut out of the hull, but I guess I could probably find a suitable plastic tank to fit somewhere else in the bilge and re pipe the loos and discharge.
Could anyone please point me in the right direction for the best proper polypropelene 3/8Ē wall holding tanks?
Apart from the labour, this might work out cheaper anyway, because I was going to have to buy two separate Electro Scans for the forward and aft toilets at $999.00 each, since they canít be used with longer than about ten foot of pipe.
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Old 16-12-2010, 12:49   #9
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... Could anyone please point me in the right direction for the best proper polypropylene 3/8” wall holding tanks? ...
Ronco is one good source http://www.ronco-plastics.com/
Otherwise:
Let me google that for you
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Old 16-12-2010, 12:52   #10
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GordMay, you never cease to amaze. That's way too cool a Google app.
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Old 14-02-2016, 13:26   #11
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Re: Waste Treatment in Bermuda and Bahamas

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Originally Posted by Blue Stocking View Post
Not my boat, nor any other privately owned boat that I know of, is fitted with a holding tank in Bermuda.
I know of no pump-out stations for private vessels.
Cruise ships connect to municipal systems while in port.
Waste is treated, I don't know to what degree, and is then discharged thru diffuser piping well off shore.
Has this changed, at all, what with preparations for a fleet of spectator boats at the 2017 America's Cup? Seems like a good opportunity for a honey barge!
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Old 14-02-2016, 15:32   #12
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Re: Waste Treatment in Bermuda and Bahamas

AFAIK there is no law that requires a holding tank for entry into US waters. A treatment system like the LectroScan is required for sewage discharge within the 3 mile limit. Many, maybe most marinas require a holding tank to use the facilities whether treated or not. A few areas have been overtaken by the Poo police though are relatively rare and limited but spreading slowly. Rumor has it that the Washington State Poo Police Agency is hell bent on declaring Puget Sound a No Discharge Zone whether it makes any sense or not. Meanwhile, Victoria, the capitol of British Columbia, dumps the entire city's untreated sewage into the Sound. As mentioned above the Keys are an NDZ.

Have and have used the Raritan systems for years without a problem. Do use the public facilities when available, however.
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Old 14-02-2016, 15:58   #13
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Re: Waste Treatment in Bermuda and Bahamas

Several NDZs in the Chesapeake Bay. I've had my "lock" check twice.
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Old 14-02-2016, 16:11   #14
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Re: Waste Treatment in Bermuda and Bahamas

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Has this changed, at all, what with preparations for a fleet of spectator boats at the 2017 America's Cup? Seems like a good opportunity for a honey barge!
Not sure what is in the works. We have built, and are building more marinas of a high standard. An entire new, stat-of-the-art sailing village is being constructed. Answers can be found on the ACBDA site.
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