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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Pumpout Costs
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-17-2012 02:23 PM
fallard
Re: Pumpout Costs

I'm with Minnewaska on this issue. While I would agree with the goals of clean water, that has to be consistent with a realistic definition of what "clean" means. It isn't the same as "pure", particularly in the coastal areas.

If we eliminated all biologics in the water column it would really screw up the food chain. Maybe the solids from a lectrasan are actually beneficial in the quantities that are actually released, particularly in areas that are flushed, like West Passage.
12-17-2012 08:52 AM
Minnewaska
Re: Pumpout Costs

I would never suggest that dumping a holding tank inside a confined harbor was a good idea. But, believe that every single boat in Narragansett Bay could dump their lectrasan tank in West Passage on any given weekend and the Bay would flick it aside, let alone between Beavertail and Point Judith.

There needs to be reasonable balance here. Humans will have an impact on the environment. However, our current rules seem to be written like speed limits. They are backed off 10 mph from what they know you will do, not what makes sense.
12-16-2012 10:29 PM
fallard
Re: Pumpout Costs

When GaryHLucas can compare the total discharge of Lectrasan units in a given boating area with all the stuff that is going into the water from surface runoff, critters in, on, and adjacent to the water, and other approved discharges, like the filter backwash from the Mystic Aquarium, and then say that the Lectrasan discharge is a problem in QUANTITATIVE terms, then I am more likely to accept his position.

In the absence of factual inputs on the ABSOLUTE level of liquid and solid discharges--I will consider the GaryHLucas position as a well-meaning--even technically informed--opinion on the QUALITATIVE nature of discharges. In the meantime, I have a hard time believing that Lectrasan discharges are a REAL environmental problem, anymore than extending the RI No Discharge Zone to 3 miles out is justified on scientific terms.

I certainly understand the argument about solids discharge, but my argument is about the absolute amount of discharges in the bigger picture. The contribution of actual and projected Lectrasan discharges in New England waters--if allowed--has to be ridiculously small. If the discharge is sterile, that takes care of e-Coli. As far as solids are concerned, let's consider the nitrogen issue as a feeder to hypoxia. You need to worry a lot more about lawn fertilizer and dog poop in the watershed than boaters.

Just for the record, I don't have and don't intend to install a Lectrasan. I use the pumpout boats and an occasional land-based pump out. Occasionally I will pump out past the 3 mile limit. I really do resent those folks who discharge untreated waste in harbors and would prefer that Lectrasan discharges not occur there either, but prohibiting Lectrasan discharges out to 3 miles off the RI shore is ludicrous.
12-16-2012 09:33 PM
GaryHLucas
Re: Pumpout Costs

About those Lectrosan units. They kill the bacteria using a chlorine made from salt water and electricity. They do NOT remove any solids, as do ALL land based treatment plants. This means that you are still discharging nutrients into the water. These nutrients feed the bacteria already in the water, along with the algae and other organisms. These organisms all consume oxygen, so they contribute to low oxygen levels in areas that don't get enough vigorous mixing. So the idea they are as clean as shore side plant is simply untrue.

Those big 100,000 spills of raw sewage? If the plant knows it is going to happen (equipment breakdown, and none of their customers have their legs crossed and holding it) They will super chlorinate it to kill all the bacteria. Similar to the Lectrasan.

Then there are the small sewage plants like the ones we build. They are based on membrane technology with filter pores so small that no solids, including bacteria and viruses can pass through. We also remove dissolved phosphorous and nitrogen down to less than 3 mg per liter, and oxygenate to 10 mg per liter. The water gets UV sterilized too, just in case, something actually did get through. At this point the water is crystal clear, and I'd bet it is better than the drinking water supply in most major cities!

We just put a plant on line. The state of Maryland wanted us to run it for three months and discharge through the old system. After three DAYS they said "Hey this is stupid, the old system is just dirtying up the discharge! You can let it go out directly"

Gary H. Lucas
12-16-2012 02:40 PM
hellosailor
Re: Pumpout Costs

That's a good thing, Scratchee. In Florida the law also says that when a business fails to make the mandatory price posting, like a gas station, the customer is allowed to pay in confederate dollars.
12-16-2012 01:18 PM
scratchee
Re: Pumpout Costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
... Folks that don't post a price (which is in fact often REQUIRED) and then ambush you afterwards are simply robbers.
There's a gas station near the Orlando airport that does this. They are conveniently located right next to the rental car return, and they have no prices posted. Surprise! That fuel you just bought to top off your rental was about $2.00 a gallon more than the going rate. I live in Maryland but have seen that specific gas station in the national news at least twice (having been fooled twice myself, sorry to say.)
12-15-2012 11:19 AM
fallard
Re: Pumpout Costs

Next, the environmentalist will go after animals on board that don't use the head underway or use a beach in a poorly flushed anchorage like the Block Island Salt Pond.

After that, they might go after the Mystic Aquarium which--as I understand it--dumps their filter backwash into the Mystic River, 2.5 miles or more from open water. Supposedly it's treated, but there's got to be a lot more marine mammal poop (whales, dolphins, seals, penguins, etc.) than people poop from a few Lectrasans.

Of course, we've never had a malfunction of the Mystic Sewage Plant, which discharges about 1.5 miles from open water, have we?

I'm all for clean water, but some of the environmental policies are ridiculously overstated, as Minnewaska said.
12-15-2012 10:40 AM
Minnewaska
Re: Pumpout Costs

Define poorly flushed harbor. Today that includes the entirety of Narragansett Bay including 3 miles offshore. Ridiculous, IMHO.
12-15-2012 09:49 AM
pdqaltair
Re: Pumpout Costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by xort View Post
Second, most no discharge zones are stupid. Lectrasans are much better than the raw sewage that routinely gets dumped by wastewater treatment plants all across America.
Don't these 2 sentences seem strange, right next to each other? Why can't I speed by 10 mph; everyone else is going 15 over? Yes, by-passing is a issue, but it's a different issue.

Yes, the Lectrasan discharge is sterile, but in pollutant load it is insignificantly different from untreated waste (actually much higher than domestic waste but only because it lacks shower and rain dilution) and certainly contains some interesting chlorinated compounds. The notion that these units "make better product than municipal plants" is a shameless fabrication without basis in facts that I've seen.

From an EPA report:
EPA Summary Data (results in mg/L)
Annalyte After Lectrasan Treatment EPA Sewage Treatment Standard
BOD5 780 45
TSS 1,000 45
Fecal Coliform < 82 200 (swimming areas)
http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/pubs/600r10008/600r10008.pdf

Certainly one toilet with a Lectrasan would have no impact, but I stay in a NDZ with over 1000 boats in a poorly flushed harbor. I'm sure some of them would function improperly (if sewers over flow, Lextrasans break or are not maintained) I expect that would be a problem. Fortunately, the harbor also has several pump-outs.
12-15-2012 08:19 AM
Minnewaska
Re: Pumpout Costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by xort View Post
.......Why isn't the EPA out putting diapers on birds and whales? Used to live near a beach that was always closed because of goose cr@p polution.
We dock alongside a pier that is roughly 250 ft long and the gulls don't bother it during the season. However, right now, they have a field day. By Spring, it will literally be covered in nearly an inch of cr@p and thousands of broken clam and crab shells. I dare say how many gallon of raw, untreated, undiluted cr@p and food garbage, just get sprayed into the water when the newbie high school dockhand comes on board in May.

Now, I don't condone humans dumping sewage, nor garbage, in the harbor. But I find the environmental zelots to be a stubborn as those that do. There needs to be some middle ground here, where the eco-system is well prepared to deal with humans.

BTW, it is illegal to buy a lobster that came from the Bay, eat it while on the hook right next to where it came from in the Bay and throw the shell overboard, where it would have been molted off or died anyway. This one, I refuse to comply with and so does everyone I know.
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