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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] <mailto:[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
View/reply online <http://ssca.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=2161&club_id=710182&item_id=816260&message_id=2048439> Reply via email to: [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]?subject=re:%20Annapolis%20Harbor%20Disallows%20Composting%20Head%20Use%20for%20Long%20Term%20Stays%20%3C%3C$20484391856$%3E%3E> Reply via email to: Kathy Barth ([email protected]) <mailto:[email protected]?subject=re:%20Annapolis%20Harbor%20Disallows%20Composting%20Head%20Use%20for%20Long%20Term%20Stays>
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.


Kathy Barth
Five & Dime
 

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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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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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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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... 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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I suspect this will get challenged in the courts.
How are they going to keep track?
 

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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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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/article/only-half-of-drugs-removed-by-sewage-treatment/
 

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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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Of all the things that cause pollution from multiple human and animal sources, I think that urine is the least worrisome.

 

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I understand their goal...no sewage dumped overboard.
Marathon..an example..has a station for cruisers to dump compost...or whatever when they come to marina dock.
So they have that available.
There will always be people who disregard so youll never hit 100%.
But close is a good thing.
Its the crowded and non flushing harbors
 

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I am not suggesting that urine from composting toilets is THE problem, the BIGGEST problem, or that medications are not coming from other sources. My point is that we all have to be mindful of what we dump into the world's water systems. Individually our contributions may seem insignificant, but collectively they are. There has been a long running thread here about refuse being washed down river to the Chesapeake Bay and the polluters have been widely pilloried. You can be certain that many of the folks who dumped each individual piece of refuse felt like it was insignificant, just as many folks think that dumping the urine from their composting toilet is insignificant. My personal approach is in all things try to do as little harm to the environment as I reasonably can.

The half life of medications varies widely and with environment. For some the time delay and interaction with bacteria as they pass through a sewage treatment plant will reduce the amount that makes it into the broader ecosystem, which makes it worth disposing of urine properly in my mind.

This is certainly a problem that is very widespread. 10 or 15 years ago a student of mine did a study which found significant levels of hormones from birth control in Meddybemps Lake in Eastern Maine, so yes, this problem is everywhere.
 

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This policy statement from the city contains many incorrect or false statements. It’s disappointing they would enact a policy aimed at composting heads based on false information.

I suspect the real reason is that they’ve had a few bad composting head apples who have dumped into small trash cans. As would be typical, the few ruin it for the many…
 

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...Individually our contributions may seem insignificant, but collectively they are.
At what point is that the case? Every breath you take incrementally affects the environment.

You can be certain that many of the folks who dumped each individual piece of refuse felt like it was insignificant
It's not in evidence in that thread that anyone intentionally dumped anything. Most of the refuse looked like trees and branches.

My personal approach is in all things try to do as little harm to the environment as I reasonably can.
Mine too and that's the way it should be. However, I strongly prefer science to identify matters of concentration and not rely on emotional intuition as to what harm means.
 

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This policy statement from the city contains many incorrect or false statements. It’s disappointing they would enact a policy aimed at composting heads based on false information.

I suspect the real reason is that they’ve had a few bad composting head apples who have dumped into small trash cans. As would be typical, the few ruin it for the many…
My guess is they are usually dumping overboard when full at 0 dark :30
Make a station available and 'some' will use it.
 

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How did you dispose of your children diapers?
A few ounces of waste a few minutes old wrapped up in a taped shut absorbent infants diaper in a tied off disposal bag is quite different from someone dumping a gallon or so of days old concentrated media into a dumpster or litter basket out on the street. Many public restrooms will also have a Changing Station with disposal bags and designated containers with odor treatment for children's diapers too. There would not be a reaction like this if people who use the composting heads in that area were not being poor guests and creating a nuisance.

I truly doubt it was all users of composting heads that were problematic however to generate this type of knee jerk reaction it had to be enough for authorities to take notice. Its usually the activities of just a few bad apples that make it hard for everyone else.
 

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A few ounces of waste a few minutes old wrapped up in a taped shut absorbent infants diaper in a tied off disposal bag is quite different from someone dumping a gallon or so of days old concentrated media into a dumpster or litter basket out on the street. Many public restrooms will also have a Changing Station with disposal bags and designated containers with odor treatment for children's diapers too. There would not be a reaction like this if people who use the composting heads in that area were not being poor guests and creating a nuisance.

I truly doubt it was all users of composting heads that were problematic however to generate this type of knee jerk reaction it had to be enough for authorities to take notice. Its usually the activities of just a few bad apples that make it hard for everyone else.
I disagree with your characterization of diapers (and how about ‘wag bags’), but fully agree with what has likely caused this reaction: a few idiots abusing the system, ruining it for everyone.

I’m curious to know how many negative incidents this city has seen. Since it is so localized, and apparently so large a problem, a better solution would be to install a bin for the semi-composted material. Charge a fee, just like for other pump outs. Simple.
 

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A few ounces of waste a few minutes old wrapped up in a taped shut absorbent infants diaper in a tied off disposal bag ...
I'm no scientist but this seems way worse from an ecological standpoint to be disposing of these individual diapers than to be dumping partly decomposed/composted feces into a landfill. Wonder which one hangs around longer.
 

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I don't think the answer should be for the city to bear the expensive of having an additional bin, for so few users. Ever price the cost of a dumpster, with weekly service? I bet the users wouldn't bear that cost either.

I'm speculating they are trying to reduce long term transients, period. That possible?
 
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