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kjzerr 11-03-2012 08:25 AM

Discharge of grey water
Hello all:

Being a "rookie" sailor, most of the rules and regulations surrounding sailing is new to me. I have a couple of questions about discharge of gray water, and I have not been able to come up with a prior discussion in this forum on point.

1. Is grey water included when discussing no discharge zones?
2. Does the "three miles from shore" rule that applies to discharge of black water also apply to grey water?
3. Since grey water comes from sinks and coolers, which are above the water line, is it necessary to use a vented loop in the same manner that one would be used for a holding tank/head set-up?

As always, your comments and suggestions will be greatly appreciated!


Minnewaska 11-03-2012 09:00 AM

Re: Discharge of grey water
Generally, grey water is not restricted in NDZs. However, there are local exceptions, which you would have to research. There have been EPA proposals to include grey water, which are ridiculous IMO.

The 3nm limit is for black water.

You can't have a vented loop in a sink, or it wouldn't drain unless it was pumped overboard. We have sinks that will back up when healed over, so we close those seacocks before getting underway.

dvuyxx 11-03-2012 09:11 AM

Re: Discharge of grey water
The graywater from sinks and cockpit drains can go directly to the through-hole to the ocean. With my first sailboat, I too was surprised that water from the sink went directly overboard. Obviously this means that you must be mindful of what goes in your sink. Use biodegradable soap etc.

SlowButSteady 11-03-2012 03:15 PM

Re: Discharge of grey water
Greywater, engine cooling water, deck wash down, et cetera, are all exempt for "no discharge" rules and regs. Generally speaking, the only discharges regulated are those involving anything that has passed through your body. However, the way the rules are written, peeing or pooping directly into the water is also unregulated. It's only when wastes enter some sort of containment system (be it a $3 bucket, or a $3000 onboard treatment system) that they become regulated.

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