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Holding Tank, Pump-outs, etc
SORRY IN ADVANCE FOR THE LENGTH... HOPE IT IS WORTH IT....
I have read the previous thread (and obviously this one) about pumping out and holding tanks, etc... and cannot imagine a better (and worse) topic to discuss as sailors.
It is the realities of life... maybe not as much for the casual day sailor or periodic weekender, but those of us that spend a LOT of time on our boats (especially with wife and kids) better get used to dealing with it.
I believe it was Surfesq that was adamant about pumping out and proper disposale of waste. Absolutely! And can you hate Greenpeace (or others), as it is an organization (at least in theory) organized solely for the benefit of earth, the environment, and what we leave for our kids? I think not. If society as a whole were more like Greenpeace and as adamant as Surfesq about pollution, WOW!! What would the world look like today??? I am not a member of Greenpeace... but I would take a world where everyone was fanatical about saving the earth over one where everyone was fanatical about caring less.
That being said, in my travels, I also find camraderie (sp?) & others comments all too true: There are not sufficent pump-outs/facilities, they are not maintained or manned, the government looks to blame the easiest possible culprit (boaters)... no matter how small the impact they really make, and the government makes rules they do not even follow themselves. Politics... often the wrong thing for the right reasons. BoatUS has put together some great articles on just this thing and are definitley worth reading.
All that being said, there are other options. Raritan makes a product called the ElectroScan. It is a Type I MSD, which means it treats the waste before dumping it. It is legal discharge in all but no discharge zones. It will not stop the "nutrient rich factor", but when maintained properly, will eliminate the bioload (virus, bacteria, etc.). It is not cheap... about $900 through Defender (more through West Marine/do not know about Sailnet), but I have used it and attest that if you can make it work, do it. Also, I am almost certain that the waste released by the Electronsan is cleaner (biocount) then the waste the city dumps right back into the waterways after they "process" it. This is up for some debate, but you could in theory make the water cleaner by using this device versus pumping out.
Another option has been presented to me through a very knowledgable sailor. He installed bronze strainers (with SS baskets) on the intake side of his heads. He breaks up pieces of chlorine tabs and a piece of cholorine/teflon tabs and puts them insdie the strainer. THis lasts for three months. His head has no odor (even flushing with saltwater) and you do not mind being downwind from him during pumpout (if you know what I mean). I am actually in the process of switching over to this system. If you have aluminum waste tanks, forget it. However, I have called the mfg of my plasitc tanks, hoses, etc... and it is perfectly safe for them. Again, with this system you will kill the bioload and the is NO SMELL WHEN FLUSHING. Did I also mention that is is VASTLY cheaper than buying the head treatment systems? Good for cruisers that are tight on space & budgets.
The truth is, if every single boat in the world pumped out and never dumped in the ocean, the result would be small. The overwhelming cause of pollution comes from the municipalities and governments that have processed their waste and dumped it in the streams, fertilizer runoff, etc. But it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to "save the world". If not for ourselves, then our kids.