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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone know if you can still drain your grey water (sink, shower, etc) through a direct overboard in harbors that are "no discharge?"

I am off to Avalon on Catalina Island in a couple of weeks and have always wondered about this. I know sewage is a no no and they put the dye tablet in your holding tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
In researching, I'm finding a lot of conflicting statements RE grey water discharge as opposed to sewage. It seems that the definition of waste water differs from state to state.
 

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I've been out to Catalina and the northern Channel Islands dozens of times and never had a dye tablet put in either of my heads. I usually anchor out and rarely stay in Avalon Harbor so I'm not current on their procedures. Grey water has never been questioned and I always use the holding tank for waste.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Just FYI - I got this email response back from the harbor master's office in Avalon:

Nick


We do not monitor grey water. We are only concerned with discharge from your sewage system.

Hope that helps...

Brian
 

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I've never heard of any restrictions on the discharge of grey water. They would have to ban washing your boat if they don't want grey water discharged.
 

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"No Discharge Zone" means no discharge- of anything.
I am just curious where you are, I have never heard of restrictions on "grey water"
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm in Santa Barbara where grey water must go to the holding tank while in harbor. Only biodegradable soap allowed for cleaning. The question I posted was in regards to Avalon mooring field on Catalina Island. Their rules in regards to grey (shower water) are ambiguous at best. Some of the CAEPA rules are superseded by those of the local conservancy. I did receive an email though from the harbor master giving the OK


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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, if you can find a slip and only use the shore facilities (which are exemplary)! The harbor is owned by the city, and the slips are rented by boat owners on a monthly basis. That is all well and good until you run into the problem of having to buy out someone who is parked in a slip. They typically go for well into the 6 figures. You will see a lot if ads on craigslist offering a free boat when you buy the slip. Some of the boats are no more than placeholders. There is a great anchorage just to the east of the harbor though. It's only 30ft deep, and a short dinghy ride to the wharf and state street. Grey water can be dumped here, but black water still must be dumped past the three mile line.


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Sam..., Thank you for the reply. I was thinking more of a transient berth. I am planning to spend part of the summer at the Channel Islands but will probably spend part of the time restocking and refueling in SB, Ventura and Oxnard as well as further south in San Diego.

I presume it would be okay as a transient at SB provided I agreed to use the shore facilities?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Definitely. Enjoy the islands. I recommend the east part of twin harbors on Santa Cruz.


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Some places are just over the top... Sounds like SoCal is one of them.
 

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A whole lot of misinformation and speculation here. I think some of the SailNet "experts" need to peruse:

U.S. Code; Title 33; Chapter 26; Subchapter III; § 1322

Do so, and I think you'll find that, with the exception of some lakes, only sewage (as in toilet effluent) is regulated. Grey water, engine cooling water, bilge pump effluent, etc., are NOT regulated (so long as they don't have any visible oil). "No Discharge Zones" are areas where no sewage, treated or untreated, can be discharged from a vessel. Of course, that doesn't mean that a marina, just like any landlord, can't impose its own rules. But they don't have the force of law.
 
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Generally, NDZ applies to sewage as most have said. However, this gets very murky when local regulations are layered atop federal. The States all have the right to regulate their coastal and inland waters out to 3 miles and some choose to further delegate that authority to their local municipalities.

Therefore, some local towns have imposed grey water restrictions as well, such as Nantucket Harbor. I get what they are trying to do, as they have a contained harbor with active shellfish farming within it. However, the practical implementation is impossible. Grey water includes everything from sinks, to showers, to even your bilge pump. For that matter, there are no boats that I've ever been aboard that have grey water holding and Nantucket has hundreds of boats on moorings and in slips all summer long. Tourism is an industry there, just like shellfish. Last season, the literature we received when we arrived simply stated that dishwashers and washing machines were prohibited. That's not hard to comply with. No mention of sinks and showers. However, I recall reading the ordinance many years ago and it wasn't limited this way, I suspect it's just their best practical approach.

One thing they do very well is to have a free pump out boat to empty your black water holding tank that arrives very quickly. That's the best way to keep sewage out of your harbor.
 

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One thing they do very well is to have a free pump out boat to empty your black water holding tank that arrives very quickly. That's the best way to keep sewage out of your harbor.
This. I always thought that the easy way to keep waters clean is to have enough pump out boats in an area, and make it hassle free and cheap to use them.
 

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Anyone know if you can still drain your grey water (sink, shower, etc) through a direct overboard in harbors that are "no discharge?"
See Vessel Sewage Discharges and No Discharge Zones | Vessel Water Discharge | US EPA . Grey water restrictions only apply to commercial vessels.

The States all have the right to regulate their coastal and inland waters out to 3 miles and some choose to further delegate that authority to their local municipalities.
I don't think that is true, although some states and localities continue to push the law. Florida is a good example.

My understanding is that any waterway with access to the sea is under federal jurisdiction under terms of interstate commerce. Any number of cases continue to wind their way through the courts. The understanding of local law enforcement may not be the best. They do what they are told.
 

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See Vessel Sewage Discharges and No Discharge Zones | Vessel Water Discharge | US EPA . Grey water restrictions only apply to commercial vessels.



I don't think that is true, although some states and localities continue to push the law. Florida is a good example.

My understanding is that any waterway with access to the sea is under federal jurisdiction under terms of interstate commerce. Any number of cases continue to wind their way through the courts. The understanding of local law enforcement may not be the best. They do what they are told.
I'm drawing a blank, but I'm going to get the reference. It is a complicated issue. The Federal government didn't turn over all control, they simply allow the States to regulate their waters. I'm sure it has limitations, but I think stricter environmental rules, do not interfere with federal limits. In other words, it isn't a right to use the water (despite some people preference). You are permitted to under certain conditions. If the State has stricter conditions, you still meet the Federal conditions. Something to that effect.
 

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So I have 2 questions on this topic.

First, Norwex is a company that my wife has taken a strong interest in. It has all biodegradable soaps and some 'interesting' microfiber cleaning cloths. I guess my question is how cruisers look at purchasing biodegradable soaps, etc, for use in grey water systems. Is there really no issue in pumping grey water overboard anywhere? What about non-bio friendly shampoo and conditioner? No problems there either? Just not experienced in this so really curious.


Second, people who have composting toilets, do you remove all holding tank components? This sounds like a great benefit, creating more storage space. Again, interested in others' experience.

Tankersteve
 
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