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Old 08-06-2008, 07:48   #1
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MSD on older boats

A friend just bought a 1968 tri which has no holding tanks for sewage. Direct discharge. Advised him to install holding tank and get legal for all the right reasons. Then the question came up. Is there a grandfather clause for older boats and if so what year. have been googling and haven't got a hit on the actual law. Does there have to be a pump out hose or can he detach the tank (he bought a 3 gal) do the porta potty routine and carry it off the boat? Thanks, Herbster
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:37   #2
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A porta potty is a no-discharge system and as long at is it USCG approved is fine.

See U.S. Department of Transportation United States Coast Guard Federal Marine Sanitation Device Regulations at CFR dumping - Google Search

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Old 08-06-2008, 11:32   #3
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Quote:
Is there a grandfather clause for older boats and if so what year
No.

Quote:
Does there have to be a pump out hose or can he detach the tank (he bought a 3 gal) do the porta potty routine and carry it off the boat?
The pump out hose is for your benefit but not required. Dumping it overboard would be a legal problem too. You just have to contain all the waste OR install a MSD system and then stay out of No Discharge Zones.

As George notes if it is USCG approved it will say so and you are fine. Porta Potty is quite leagl. Just don't get a big one since you need to empty it sooner or later.
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Old 08-06-2008, 13:38   #4
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I fouled up the link, try this one. Federal Marine Sanitation Device Regulations

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Old 08-06-2008, 16:48   #5
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I thought there was some grandfather clause in there about lectra-san devices installed before the Clean Water Act of 1978, which allows for no holding tank? I could be wrong, but I thought I read something like that when I was searching through requirements last week.
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Old 08-06-2008, 16:55   #6
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I don't have a holding tank. My MSD unit is legal every place I go so I don't worry much. I suppose I could end up in places where I would have to beg off.

Lectra-san is still legal and always has been USCG approved. They changed the name to Electro-San a few years ago. USCG approved is as good as it ever was.

The theory is still the same and frankly a better approach. Do you really think municipal sanitary treatment systems are that good? They don't come close to the level of treatment as lectra-san. If they (the municipal systems) work as advertised they are not one bit better. They fail on a lot of days. We are still to this day struggling to separate storm water from sanitary sewer systems. Many parts of the world can't even do that. Clean water is a fine goal but working from the top down does better.
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Old 08-06-2008, 17:00   #7
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You can fight the rules or comply relatively easily. Build a tank of whatever capacity works for you, mount it ABOVE the waterline with a bottom drain hose exiting through a plastic ball valve at the waterline (remembering this is a multihull). If you mount a tee at the thruhull, prior to the ball valve, you can lead another hose up to a deck plate for pumpout. Add the toilet exhaust at the top, a sealed cleanout fitting, and a vent hose, and you are legal. When in an unregulated area, simply leave the thruhull valve open and everything enters the tank, then over the side. No macerators, pumps (beside the toilet pump), or major hassle. My Lavac toilet, on a Searunner 40, is mounted in the compartment below the deck hatch. You can open the hatch and take a leak standing, enjoying the view, or take a seat when operating in zero gravity conditions or more public circumstances. My holding tank is secured to the frame forward of the head, about two feet above the waterline.
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Old 08-06-2008, 18:42   #8
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The only grandfathered systems were tanks that were basically holding tanks much as you might find today.
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:24   #9
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The second biggest area of confusion in CFR 140.3, and the part that gives rise to the most misinformation, pertains to boats built before the effective date of the Clean Water Act (The Federal Water Pollution Act of 1980) on zero-discharge impoundments. Owners of these boats are convinced they don’t have to install a holding tank because the law says boats built before the effective date may continue to use a Type I or Type II MSD. That much is true. The part that gets overlooked is that the Type I or Type II must have been installed on the boat before that date as well, and must still be operable to Coast Guard standards. In that case, it may remain in operation for the life of the device. If such is not the case, the only device that can be added to any boat now is a Type III—a holding tank.
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:42   #10
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The part that gets overlooked is that the Type I or Type II must have been installed on the boat before that date as well, and must still be operable to Coast Guard standards.
Keeping these old units operating is not easy. The really old lectra sans give out after a while and the plates go bad. My neighbior had his sailboat that is that old and it went bad and now his trawler of similar age has a bad ssytem. he just uses a holding tank now.

The new hybrid system is pretty nice from the ads. You get a lockout that allows the holding tank to temoprarily hold waste until you can treat it legally or pump it out.
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Old 09-06-2008, 08:21   #11
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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
I don't have a holding tank. My MSD unit is legal every place I go so I don't worry much. I suppose I could end up in places where I would have to beg off..
U.S. EPA No Discharge Zones (NDZs):
No-Discharge Zones for Vessel Sewage | Ocean Regulatory Programs | US EPA
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Old 09-06-2008, 08:55   #12
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Yes, on the Chesapeake we only have one NDZ. Herring Bay south of Annapolis.
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:30   #13
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Here are some photos I just took of my holding tank installation. See the Pumpout-gravity out forum on today's site for details.
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:58   #14
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Roy,

Looks like a nice install. The tendency is to install them in places no human can reach. You then spend years figuring out how it works and how they got it in there. Working on marine toilets is not a fun job but this one looks pretty nice. Making all the hoses as short as possible is a key design feature I like about this one.
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Old 09-06-2008, 14:10   #15
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Thanks, Paul! Because I work on other folk's boats, long ago, when building my own, I decided to make things accessible. There is a special place in hell for designers and builders who force you to work upside down with three hands to change something that needs attention. All my cabinet work unscrews, all the floorboards lift out, and I can put my hand and eyeball on everything aboard. For example, that white inspection plate to the left of the toilet base, not only lets me look around for mildew or spiders, but lets me put a wrench under the bolts holding the toilet base.
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