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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Washing ablative bottom paint is a crime?
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Thread: Washing ablative bottom paint is a crime? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-09-2008 01:14 AM
Fstbttms
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishboyneil View Post
It is definitely a question of dilution. True, ablative paint wears away slowly as the boat travels but the amount is miniscule compared to what is concentrated by pressure washing, scrubbing or sanding. Natural ablation also tends to occur in deeper, open water where it can be further diluted and carried about.
All copper-based anti foulings (abaltive or otherwise) leach copper throughout the course of their useful lifespans whether the boat is in motion or not. Further, most boats spend the vast majority of their lives sitting in a slip in a marina, doing little more than leaching copper into the water. There can be little doubt as to why there are elevated levels of cuprous oxide measured in virtually every marina that has been tested for it.
05-07-2008 09:52 PM
fishboyneil It is definitely a question of dilution. True, ablative paint wears away slowly as the boat travels but the amount is miniscule compared to what is concentrated by pressure washing, scrubbing or sanding. Natural ablation also tends to occur in deeper, open water where it can be further diluted and carried about.

The amount of copper that could theoretically collect in a parking lot or marina basin is significant. When a good rainstorm washes it into nearby waters it can be toxic to many invertebrates. Take the typical marina on the E. coast. Tidal flows and water turnover tends to be subtle and slow due to the protected shallow nature of marina locations. Copper is toxic to most plankton, shellfish and other low ranking invertebrates found in coastal ecosystems.

Don't get me wrong I find all this stuff to be a bit extreme and would be more in favor of monitoring first to see if the problems are indeed ocurring.

I am fortunate enough to able to bring my boat home and live far from the water. I do my sanding and washing there.
05-07-2008 03:47 PM
beej67 I heave-to past the 3 mile limit to scrub the bottom of my boat, but I don't do it for environmental reasons. I do it because of the gators.
05-07-2008 03:28 PM
T34C This is pretty interesting since the marina I use for winter haulout requires that they pressure wash the bottom. reguardless what paint is on the boat. It is added onto your bill as part of haul-out and storage. No exception.
05-07-2008 03:14 PM
sailaway21 Once again the solution to pollution is dilution. Small amounts of many toxic substances often cause no harm and, in fact, can in some cases be beneficial to certain lifeforms. That phenomena is called hormesis. It certainly makes sense to monitor all such cleaning operations while perhaps avoiding the broad-brush legislation that lumps all operations into a single one-size fits all law.

A couple of minor errors in the previous posts worth noting. DDT was banned on the fear of it's being a carcinogen risk. In actuality, when tested on rats it has been shown to be an anticarcinogen if anything. The study on eagle's eggs was flawed in that the eagle's calcium intake was also reduced in the original study. One of the researchers in this area, J. Bitman, performed his study again without reducing the calcium in the bird's diets and found no thinning of the egg shells. Science magazine refused to publish the second study vowing that they'd never publish anything favorable to DDT. the results were enventually published in Poultry Science, not exactly the most widely read of scientific journals. A leading proponent of DDT was the late J. Gordon Edwards, professor of entomology as San Jose State University who regularly consumed a spoonful of the substance at the beginning of each year for the enlightenment of his students. He died in 2004 at the age of 85. One might think about these facts when reading about malarial deaths in the third world. Malaria regularly infects 300,000,000 people annually with nearly 2,000,000 dieing each year. The vast majority live in sub-Saharan Africa.

The drilling mud cited as containing heavy metals is most likely bentonite mud. Bentonite is a naturally occuring high-solids clay that is used in oil and gas drilling as well as water well drilling. It is used to keep the bore hole open during rotary drilling operations and also as a grout to prevent transmission of fluids in the well casing annulus. Bentonite is also fed to dairy cattle as a laxative and is also used in humans for the same purpose. Bentonite is used in winemaking and is reputed to be an ingredient in Clearisil acne cream. It's also used in some cosmetics. Bentonite contains no heavy metals. Oh, and 99% of oil and water wells are drilled and/or grouted using bentonite.

While sailors perhaps more than most care about water quality and the environment it would certainly be nice to see some data on areas where removed bottom paint has accumulated, assuming that it does indeed tend to accumulate from hull scrubbing versus dissipating, and what actual environmental effects result. One thing we do know for sure is that recovering it and concentrating it causes the production of a highly concentrated amount of heavy metals that you cannot just dump anywhere. And those new hazardous waste dumps are just popping up everywhere you turn aren't they? But then, like DDT, it's not always necessary for government to have all the facts in place before banning either a substance or a practise. A shrill cry of, "what about the children?" is often sufficient to obviate the scientific process in favor of the politically expedient, "just to be on the safe side". Unless of course, those children are African.
05-07-2008 10:32 AM
wnor Many interesting comments in this thread. Thanks to all. Pursuing the specific situation with which I began this thread, the marina in question has no waste water abatement system; pressure-washing is done while the boat is suspended in the TravelLift at the head of the TravelLift's slip, and the water drains into the bay. Compare this to a guy with a bucket of Joy and a sponge 100 feet deep into the yard. While all human endeavor carries an environmental impact greater than zero (consider the potential impact of generating the electricity to manufacture and run a dry sander; yikes!), a balanced, consistent, data-driven approach seems needed for these problems. I don't see that in this situation. Perhaps the missing piece in the situation I've described is that the marina should install an abatement system (something, of course, that customers will ultimately pay for). Or perhaps the impact of ablative bottom paints as currently used is trivial in comparison to other sources such as municipal sewer discharges, and a total ban on copper bottom paints would have no discernible impact on the bay. I don't know, and, after a lot of web-surfing, I'm no smarter.
04-25-2008 05:00 PM
E38 I care about the environment more than laws. When I read this post it seemed obvious to me that cleaning ablative paint is an problem because it leads to MUCH more of the toxins being released than through normal process of the boat hull moving in the water. I did a quick search on the internet and found this document that seems to back this up:

http://dnrweb.dnr.state.md.us/downlo...ottomPaint.pdf

It seems that the question of whether or not washing ablative paint is a crime depends on the local jurisdiction and the way it is done. Regardless of the legality, it is bad for the environment to wash ablative paint and not contain the runoff. Donít do it if you care about the environment!
04-25-2008 04:02 PM
hellosailor Well, Alex, we've been deprived of the facist leadership for 194 years longer than you all have, so sometimes things get confused over here. Give us a call and let us know how you're doing 194 years further down the road, will you?

wnor-
In the northeast most marina owners are quite frankly in terror of "epa" violations and penalties, one incident, one big penalty, and they are out of business forever. Sometimes they are paranoid, sometimes they are correct. Right now, all you can do is comply. But if you chase down the state authorities, and get them to cite the actual code to you and explain it to you, you may be able to either understand the marina's requirements, or show them what the law actually requires.

I would expect that IF you can dry sand the bottom, you can wet sand/wash the bottom, since either way you are polluting the marina grounds unless there is a containment system. Many marinas will allow dry only--and even that only if you have a tarp and you contain and remove all of the sediment. Having to empty out a boatyard and have all the gravel and then the top foot of soil bulldozed and removed for hazmat disposal can be damned expensive. That's the specter being thrown at the marina owners.
04-25-2008 02:17 PM
blt2ski Hmmmmm, Did not know washington was the only one.........ok, I will shut up then. I thought this was a more widespread rule than here in puget sound.

Marty
04-25-2008 12:30 PM
Fstbttms
Quote:
Originally Posted by blt2ski View Post
It is ok to in-water bottom clean "IF" you have hard paint. "IF" you have ablative paint, that is NOT ok to do, which is what I was implying there.
I understand what you were implying. However, to my knowledge there is only one state in the country (Washington) that has any restrictions in place regarding the cleaning of ablative paints. If you know of others, please enlighten me.
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