Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 88 Old 09-10-2018 Thread Starter
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Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook?

I'm not a member of SSCA, so don't have access to the information linked here. I got this off another site. Anyone have more information?

The following report courtesy of [email protected]

Subject: Annapolis Harbor Disallows Composting Head Use for Long Term Stays
Posted by: Kathy Barth on 9/8/2018 at 10:30 AM
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I spent an hour or so with Beth Bellas, Annapolis Harbormaster, Thursday. Lots of good information which I'll write up for a longer article, but here's the official statement.

Boats with composting heads are welcome in City Waters. They may transit through, stay at private or public docks for as long as they like People with composting heads may not stay in City waters ON ANCHOR OR ON A MOORING longer than one (1) week. Composting heads are not designed for uninterrupted use, and when users dispose of the solids in our public trash cans, this creates a public health concern. Users are also tempted to dump urine overboard, in violation of state and local laws and ordinances.

IMHO, as long as we have a specified policy, our Clean Wake obligation is to follow the local policy. I looked into the manufacturers specs a bit and I did see a reference that they were not recommended for uninterrupted use as there isn't sufficient time (typically) for solid waste to compost in that scenario. I have found none of them to be Coast Guard approved so far, so we will want to keep an eye on the use of these in other waters as time goes by.

The message is that Annapolis has been wrestling with all of the challenges that a municipal facility runs into with City Councils and funding. They are and have been trying to take care of boaters and their home waters by enforcing regulations already on the books. Lots of derelict vessels are gone.. Sunken mooring balls have been marked, but legally they cant do anything with private moorings in their jurisdiction. They are making an effort to welcome us and communicate with us when something changes. Good work is underway.


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post #2 of 88 Old 09-10-2018
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Re: Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook?

This is totally BS..obviously the writer of the article has no experience with a composting head..
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Re: Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook?

It takes about a year for a composting toilets output to become benign so if it can't be discharged into the municipal sanitary sewer or marinas holding tank then it needs other sanitary means of disposal.

Perhaps more needs to be done to setup final composting stations for emptying the composting heads into to allow the process to complete. Is it a roadblock or opportunity for some enterprising folks to provide a solution?
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Re: Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook?

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Originally Posted by SeaStar58 View Post
It takes about a year for a composting toilets output to become benign so if it can't be discharged into the municipal sanitary sewer or marinas holding tank then it needs other sanitary means of disposal.

Perhaps more needs to be done to setup final composting stations for emptying the composting heads into to allow the process to complete. Is it a roadblock or opportunity for some enterprising folks to provide a solution?

How did you dispose of your children diapers?

For this reason, the original argument is 5 miles off-base. There are no regulations in any US municipality that I am aware of (and I looked as part of a project) restricting the disposal of diapers or WAG bags in municipal garbage, so until there are--and there won't be because people like disposable diapers--then there is simply nothing to talk about from a legal perspective. The harbormaster can say anything he wants--he lacks jurisdiction.

As for the statement that composting heads are not USCG approved, that is an obvious red herring, because type III devices are not certified. They simply must be zero-discharge. Only type I and type II are certified. Technically, folks are in violation dumping urine, but that is trivial and they know it. If they want to require shore disposal or pump-out, that is a separate subject.

---

And I don't even much like composting heads. I just don't see a violation.

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Re: Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook?

I'm guessing they aren't finding diapers in the shoreside dumpsters as much as they are finding desiccated human feces and a whole bunch of drying media.

Agree, they may have no wide jurisdiction, but I would love to know more about the problem. Cruisers can do some real dumb things, not at all limited to having a composter. I've seen trash stuffed into the convenience parkside cans designed to accept a coffee cup, not a 13 gallon bag of trash. Someone must be abusing the system.
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Re: Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook?

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... Someone must be abusing the system.
An unfortunately common theme in regulation....

A designated can would be a simple solution. I have a call in.
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Re: Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook?

I suspect this will get challenged in the courts.
How are they going to keep track?
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Re: Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook?

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How did you dispose of your children diapers?
Technically, folks are in violation dumping urine, but that is trivial and they know it.
I have to respectfully disagree with this statement. While it is true that urine has virtually no bacteria and will not contaminate water supplies with e-coli and other nasty pathogens, it is none the less a fertilizer containing lots of nitrogen and moderate amounts of phosphorous. If you dump fertilizer into the water supply it tends to promote the growth of algae which can in turn result in reduced dissolved oxygen levels. This can negatively impact marine life.

In addition, many of the medications we take are passed through urine, from caffeine to birth control hormones to antidepressants. Dumping these straight into the water supply is not good for the environment either as they tend to have negative effects on the endocrine systems of marine life and can specifically disrupt reproduction.

As our planet warms and sea levels rise one would hope that we have learned the lesson that there is no such thing as "it's just piss in the ocean." All our individual choices about what we dump in our water cycle matter because they do add up.
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Re: Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook?

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Originally Posted by chicory83 View Post
In addition, many of the medications we take are passed through urine, from caffeine to birth control hormones to antidepressants. Dumping these straight into the water supply is not good for the environment either as they tend to have negative effects on the endocrine systems of marine life and can specifically disrupt reproduction.
FWIW, for about half of medications, sewage treatment plants don't remove them anyway: https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...age-treatment/
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Re: Annapolis bans composting toilets for cruisers on hook?

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Originally Posted by chicory83 View Post
In addition, many of the medications we take are passed through urine, from caffeine to birth control hormones to antidepressants. Dumping these straight into the water supply is not good for the environment either as they tend to have negative effects on the endocrine systems of marine life and can specifically disrupt reproduction.
I recently heard a shown on NPR about this very thing happening in Seattle where the oysters? were showing signs of accumulating medications some people take on a daily basis in their meat. The point of the discussion had to deal with the disposal of effluent from water treatment plants that treat sewerage from the "public" sewer systems before it's dumped into the river, bay or ocean. Presently there is no way to "treat" the sewerage to remove the medical by products.
I'm not an expert but I suspect that this issue is happening everywhere along the coast.

I'm not quite sure how boaters that dump urine overboard can be considered the problem here.
Just saying....

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