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  #21  
Old 04-06-2011
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Aaron wrote, "I want water that is as practically clean as if humans weren't dumping their crap into it."

And just how clean do you think water is, without humans, seems to me that crabs and cat fish eat a lot of "stuff"..and with the large number of geese that seem to "adopt" waterfront homes now, and all that poo...

And if you have not been diving, then do so.

And to think that commercially treated waste is any less toxic (or better cleansed, given the known chemicals they use) than....well you will not believe me, so carry on. Oh, and be sure to use Google, or wiki...they are such authorities, tongue severely in cheek..just in case you miss my sarcasm.

The reality that you seek, has never existed, nor will it. And the EPA should certainly not be used in the same sentence of your desires to get there, else you WILL be sorely disappointed.
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  #22  
Old 04-06-2011
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Replies to Minnewaska and kd3pc

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Ironically, while you misunderstood my point, you ended up making it.

I'm not suggesting that biodegradable soaps have zero impact, I'm suggesting their limited impact is acceptable and insignificant, or making them so should be the effort here. I also suggested that our time and resources would be better spent in providing the best of these.

Your house, car (even a Prius), road, clothing and food supply all have an arguable negative impact on the environment. That should be sustainable, not eliminated.
Using biodegradable soap is not helpful at all; save your money. A regular phosphate-free (most of them are now) dish soap will have about the same impact. Biodegradable soap on a boat is for show only.

I'm not asking for zero impact. But I'm drawing the line of "acceptable" closer than you. If it makes me not want to get in the water, or if, in the long run, it leads to a steady-state film on the water, or overgrowth of allegea, or anything else generally nasty like that, then it's past my line. I'm thinking of the nasty water in and around my marina here, as a starting point. It just doesn't have to be this way.

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
There is another practical issue to be addressed, which I intend to make during the EPA webinar. There are hardly any recreational boats capable of making room for a suitably sized gray water holding tank. Your gray water discharge is usually multiples that of blackwater. Should tankage capacity be stressed, I think this could actually encourage the illegal dumping of the blackwater to make room.
I completely agree with this. There has to actually be a plan that would work. I believe that a such a plan will have at least two key parts: it give people the tools they need to do the right thing, and it will regulate very slowly, adapting and learning. If people don't have an easy and obvious way to comply, and the law is something idiotic like suddenly flat-out banning recreational discharges, then crap will ensue. I think this is why the boating community needs to meaningfully-engage the EPA at this crucial phase, to help them find a plan that actually works.

A good analogy is used motor oil; banning dumping motor oil in the storm sewer is completely ineffective. If people are given an easy and convenient way to recycle the oil, and you just let them know what the right thing to do is, most people will do the right thing.

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Originally Posted by kd3pc View Post
And to think that commercially treated waste is any less toxic (or better cleansed, given the known chemicals they use) than....well you will not believe me, so carry on. Oh, and be sure to use Google, or wiki...they are such authorities, tongue severely in cheek..just in case you miss my sarcasm.
This is what I was talking about earlier. If you don't believe in the effectiveness of modern wastewater treatment, then I don't think there's any way we can have rational discourse. With respect, you need to get educated, and enter reality.

To correct you factually, "commercial treatment" is not primarily chemical. It is biological. Chemicals are frequently used for precipitation and sanitization, but they're pretty far down the harm ladder; we're talking about chlorine and friends, and they are neutralized before being discharged. Many more modern treatment plants use non-chemical sanitization like UV. At a properly-operating sewage treatment plant in the developed world, nearly all solids have been removed and the water is safe enough to drink.

(Of course, sewage treatment plants are frequently allowed to malfunction, and this is a disgraceful and unethical practice. Regulation is tightening up, though, and they're hope that soon we won't have to worry about this.)
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  #23  
Old 04-06-2011
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The whole idea of recreational boats retaining gray water is ridiculous. There isn't any, I repeat, ANY evidence scientific or otherwise that indicates that banning gray water discharge from recreational boats would have any positive impact on ANYTHING. If there was ever a solution looking for a problem then this is it.
Every minor and major city dumps millions of gallons of untreated, oil laden storm runoff from the streets, parking lots, alleys, freeways, etc directly into the nearest body of water (and that's the "developed" countries, don't even get me started about everywhere else). Millions and millions and millions of gallons, and you are trying to tell me that sink water from some little boats is even a measurable quantity? I'm sorry, but when I hear someone say that they want water as clean as if the human race didn't exist they lose all credibility with me. That's just not accepting reality, an unrealistic utopian pie in the sky fantasy. I'm not advocating that "dilution is a solution for pollution" but you've got to give the oceans credit for being remarkably self cleansing, and dilution is part of that process (think extremely radioactive water dumping into the ocean and yet 1/2 mile away it's barely measurable). Sometimes I think that common sense has all but disappeared. You feel strongly about doing something to clean up the water, then install a storm water containment system for your driveway or where you park your car on the street. That will do infinitely more than retaining an itty bitty amount of sink water from your boat that you rarely even use.
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  #24  
Old 04-07-2011
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I'll have to stand with Aaronwindward in this discussion. There is significant improvement in our waterways resulting from the progression of EPA regulations since the Clean Water Act of 1972. We've bought our first liveaboard in 1971 and 'have been cruising the East US coast, Maine to the Bahamas, since that time. Dolphins are now again seen in the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville,- not visiting there since the late fifties or early sixties. Unfortunately, the anti-government ranters rarely participate in processes to gain first hand information. The current proposed practices being developed for recreational boaters do not include the retention and storage of gray water. Why would boaters reject practices that would promote good stewardship of our environment. I suggest that those with concerns actually participate in the webinars. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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  #25  
Old 04-07-2011
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If you believe, as you wrote: "At a properly-operating sewage treatment plant in the developed world, nearly all solids have been removed and the water is safe enough to drink."....

it is you then - that I say, "With respect, you need to get educated, and enter reality." And visit a small municipal plant, and a medium one and then a large one.

There was a discussion here a bit ago about some plants in the Boston area, that would immediately disprove your notions about treatment. Baltimore, MD and Anne Arundel County, MD as well.

At least in the states where I have lived and been involved with building and maintenance of sewage treatment plants, like MD, VA, DC and Southern PA...yours is the dream world. Chlorine in amounts that would be banned in most other arenas, filters that simply remove large stones, gravel, sand and NOTHING to remove pharmaceuticals. I sure would not drink the crap coming out.

You, need to get educated my friend, if you think these plants work as you describe. They don't, even when they are processing correctly.
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  #26  
Old 04-07-2011
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This is not an anti-government rant from me. Not this time anyway.

I suggest everyone attend the webinar or watch the intro that was taped and posted on this forum.

The EPA themselves objected to applying the Clean Water Act to us. They were sued by an extremist group to do so. The EPA even tried to appeal, because they didn't want to do this. The EPA typically looks for ways to sneak stuff in and didn't want to. Now that they have no choice, their process will be as burdensome as it was designed to be.

So, if you're a big fan of the EPA, you would be opposed to this.
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  #27  
Old 04-07-2011
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Granted, there are some rivers in the nation, and throughout the world, for that matter, that are a bit cleaner than they were in the 1950s and 1960s. However, the decreases in their pollution had nothing to do with the EPA. In most instances it was the loss of certain industries that improved the river's water quality--industries that eventually went to third-world nations where they now pollute their waters. For example, there were several pulp and paper mills in operation many years ago on the Patapsco River's shores in Maryland. When persistent flooding, plus a major shift in the economy put them out of business, that river miraculously was transformed from a slimy gray ditch to a fun place for kayaking.

Many of the nations textile mills, most of which were situated along the shores of rivers, have now been shipped overseas, again to third-world countries, locations where once pristine waterways were quickly converted to open sewers. The EPA had absolutely nothing to do with this. In both instances it was an economic move.

Bethlehem Steel Company, which at one time employed more than 100,000 people from the Baltimore metropolitan area, was a major contributor to the pollution of the lower Patapaco River and Chesapeake Bay. The plant is nearly out of business, there are about 1,200 workers still employed at the Sparrows Point facility, and much of our steel is now imported in the form of finished products. The acid basin, which is situated near the shores of Bear Creek, only has a trickle of effluent emitting from the discharge pipe of the scrubbing plant. Again, the EPA played no role whatsoever in reducing the volume of effluent from Bethlehem Steel--it was the economy that brought about the reduction.

Sure, the EPA has spewed out hundreds of unenforcible mandates, regulations that have brought about the demise of some smaller industries. But most of the major polluters seem to survive.

The Saint Johns River in Florida was, and still is, heavily polluted. Yes, porpoise frequently forage in the river for an easy meal, but there's a reason for that as well.

First and foremost, they follow the schools of herring, Atlantic menhaden, and a host of other forage species upon which they feed. Those species enter the Saint Johns and other major rivers on their spawning runs every spring, then slowly make their way back to sea. They are followed by their offspring, which migrate out of the natal rivers during late fall and early winter. This is something that has been taking place hundreds of thousands of years.

Usually, the porpoise, also referred to as dolphins, exited the rivers shortly after the spawning runs, gave birth to their young, after which time they tended to remain in the shallow coastal waters where their young could feed in relative safety from coastal sharks. During the past half-century, though, commercial fishing for menhaden, herring, and a host of other schooling species has brought about their decline, thus porpoise had to seek food elsewhere. In many instances they returned to the mouths of major, coastal rivers and bays where they could still find sufficient food to survive upon. When they ran out of menhaden, porpoise switched to other species, striped bass, weakfish, bluefish, etc..., species that were readily available until recent years.

So, just because you may be seeing more porpoise frolicking on the surface, it is not an indicator that the waters has been miraculously cleansed by a series of EPA mandates--it's definitely not the case.

Do we really need a watchdog agency to help prevent illegal dumping? Absolutely! Do we need the EPA? HELL NO! The EPA, IMHO, is a politically-appointed, gargantuan nightmare that seems to grow larger at an exponential rate. It regurgitates mountains of useless regulations, the vast majority of which do nothing more than perpetuate the agency itself. If we completely eliminated the EPA TOMORROW, the only thing that would happen is our nation debt would be reduced and an army of bureaucrats would be among the unemployed. And, this would be a bad thing?

In a Utopian world, the waters flowing from the world's wastewater treatment plants would be crystal clear and pure. We don't live in Utopia--this is the real world. I have seen very small, wastewater, treatment plants that discharge water containing very few solids. These are extremely expensive, both to procure and operate, they're few and far between, and they do produce byproducts. Hey, those turd lumps have to go somewhere. You can grind them up, sterilize them, liquefy them, dehydrate them, etc..., but they're still turds--just in a different form. The next stop for them is either landfill or spread on farm fields.

Now, those dried out, pulverized turds, according to state and federal agencies, are essentially hazardous wastes. They still contain many of the chemicals that passed unscathed through the wastewater treatment systems. The list is larger than a small city's telephone directory, and at the top of the list is a chemical cocktail of medicines and drugs that pass through our bodies in the form of steroids, antibiotics, statins, you name it. Fortunately, when exposure to a couple years of Mother Nature's elements will usually reduce the drug and chemical levels to where the fields can be plowed, and crops planted.

Am I anti EPA? You bet! We already have the same type of oversight, watchdog agencies in each and every state. Some are referred to as the State Department of Environment. They do the same things the EPA does--pee down your back and tell you it's raining. In many instances, they are break-away agencies from the state's fish and wildlife agencies. And, like the EPA, they all make the same claims. They claim that if you just give them more power, more people, more money, more of everything, they will create a Utopian environment for everyone. In most instances, those agencies have been around for a half-century or more. I don't know about the other members of this forum, but I, personally, don't have another half-century to wait for them to do the jobs they were hired to do.

Now you know why I no longer write for the world's third largest newspaper--I don't pull any punches. Now I'm old, crotchety, and don't give a damned about the EPAs idiotic, grey-water proposals. I, for one, am not going to retrofit my boat with anything that's not currently onboard, I'm not going to change my boat or boating habits, and I suspect that most everyone on this forum will follow suit. If the rest of the world were as conscientious about waterway pollution as the recreational boating community there wouldn't be a problem.

I has to be 5:00 O'Clock Somewhere!

Gary
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  #28  
Old 04-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd3pc View Post
There was a discussion here a bit ago about some plants in the Boston area, that would immediately disprove your notions about treatment.
WRONG! The discussion of Deer Island supported his position.
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  #29  
Old 04-07-2011
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"WRONG! The discussion of Deer Island supported his position"

so you guys are saying that you will DRINK the treated effluent from the Deer Island sewage treatment plant?

Incredible that you would put that much trust in Deer Island, I would not...
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  #30  
Old 04-07-2011
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I'll supply the drinking glass, ice cubes and have a trusted friend that lives in the area shoot the photos. I gotta' see this! BTW, there was an EPA official that made the same claim when Blue Plains was updated several years ago. I handed him a plastic cup, took out my camera and said "OK, here you go--drink up." He threw the cup on the ground and walked out of the press conference. Yeah, my editor got pissed about that shenanigan too. I was kinda' proud of it, though!

Gary
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