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Old 03-02-2012, 08:22   #1
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Dirty Water Tanks - Yes or No

Hello all,

I am working on our boat to prepare for a trip around the World in 2013. We take a sort of the standard route through the tropics, start from Europe.

I have some questions about dirty water tanks.

-Do you have a dirty water tank?

-Do I need a dirty water tank?

- Black and grey? Toilet/kitchen. Will only toilet be enough?

-In how much countries is it required to have a dirty water tank? Caribbean, Australia, Iles in the pacific… etc.

-Do police or authorities check if you have a dirty water tank on board? I hear they seal the outlets.

- Are there penalties given by the police? How often? How much?

- Can you go into harbors or marinas without dirty water tank?

-Can you just empty your tank at night when anchored? Do you make friends in your bay with that action? ;-)

- Das a tank stink inside your boat in a tropical climate, gaskets, hoses, air ventilation etc.

-Has the boat a better value when selling it inclusive dirty water tank?

-How much capacity would be good? We can make 700 liters over 2, or 900L. over 3 tanks. Maybe 100L. is more than enough?

Is it all worth the hassle, money and the work...

How do you deal in practice with this issue, any info would be very welcome. Links to more info also.

Thank you very much for your help.

Greetings Mark.

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Old 03-02-2012, 08:51   #2
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Re: Dirty water tanks, yes or no.

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Mark10.

In most countries, you cannot discharge sewerage overboard, and must have a black* water holding tank.
Most countries will not require you to have a grey* water tank.

* Blackwater is wastewater containing fecal matter and urine. It is also known as brown water, foul water, or sewage.
Greywater is wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing.

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Old 03-02-2012, 08:58   #3
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Re: Dirty water tanks, yes or no.

Holding tank, that's the word! Thanks so far.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:04   #4
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Re: Dirty water tanks, yes or no.

In the US, it would be very illegal to have a toilet plumbed straight overboard. It would have to have a tank, and even if it has the option for going overboard, like a Y valve, that has to actually be secured is in some way to prevent accidental discharge.

Grey water is commonly routed straight out of the boat.

And no, you won't make any friends dumping sewage in a nice anchorage, though it does happen. At Catalina Island the authorities will board the boat and put dye into the toilets to prevent just such a thing. If they spot dye around your boat you get banned from mooring there for a year.
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Old 03-02-2012, 16:24   #5
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Re: Dirty water tanks, yes or no.

If you do not have one, the authorities may lock your head. Which is actually very good since you will not piss into the marina where I am spending my time. Actually, I prefer you do this rather than use the holding tank and then pump it out into the marina. This is what many liveaboards / cruisers do. But it is not necessary as 99% of ports have facilities onshore.

Back in 2003-2007 we sailed rtw without a holding tank. We had our head locked in NZ but not elsewhere. (We do not use the head in port anyways).

Note: we did not visit the US. They say some US states are very strict and the holding tank is a must there.

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Old 03-02-2012, 20:01   #6
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Actually, as you consider all the issues surrounding holdings tanks there is another option to throw into the mix. I speak of the composting toilet. Separates liquid waste from solids. See for example "Airhead" or "Natures Head".

Works for us.

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Old 04-02-2012, 10:54   #7
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Re: Dirty water tanks, yes or no.

Ok. Thanks.

I will make 1 for black water from + /- 350 liters. I can always make one extra later if we need.
I will make the kitchen and shower straight over board, with option to the black holding tank.

A dry Eco toilet looks like a lot of work to empty, especially when having guests on board.

Greetings Mark.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:58   #8
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Re: Dirty water tanks, yes or no.

Some places in Turkey are getting picky about discharging grey water.

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