Vessel Sewage

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					Clean Boating Tip Sheet 2

  Raw or poorly treated sewage is harmful to human                    What Does the Law Say?
  health and water quality. Typhoid, hepatitis, cholera,
  gastroenteritis, and other waterborne diseases may                  According to federal and state
  infect people who swim in contaminated waters.
  People may also become ill by eating shellfish                      law, it is illegal to discharge
  contaminated with viruses and other microorganisms                  raw sewage into the water.
  contained in sewage discharge.
  Sewage is also harmful to water quality. Because the                All vessels with installed toilets must have a
  microorganisms in sewage need oxygen, any effluent                  Marine Sanitation Device (MSD):
  discharged to waterways reduces the amount of                         • Type I systems mechanically cut
  oxygen available to fish and other forms of aquatic                       solids and disinfect waste before
  life. Furthermore, the heavy nutrient load in sewage                      they are discharged into the water.
  promotes excessive algal growth. As the algae                             The treated discharge must meet a
  multiply, they prevent life-sustaining sunlight from                      standard for bacteria count and must
  reaching subsurface vegetation. When the algae die,                       not contain visible solids. Type I
  they are decomposed by bacteria which further                             Systems must bear a U.S. Coast Guard
  reduce levels of dissolved oxygen.                                        certification label.

                                                                        • Type II systems treat sewage to a
                                                                            higher standard and generally require
                                                                            more space and energy. Type II
                                                                            systems must also have a Coast
  Install a holding tank. Visit the New Jersey Clean
                                                                            Guard certification label.
  Marina website at to obtain
  information about installing a sewage holding tank.                   • Type III systems do not discharge
                                                                            sewage. Holding tanks are the most
  Use good plumbing to control holding tank odor.                           common Type III system.
  Fiberglass and metal tanks are highly impermeable, as
                                                                            Incinerating systems are another
  are specially labeled flexible “sanitation hoses” and
                                                                            option. A Coast Guard label is not
  PVC piping. Hose runs should be as short and as
  straight as possible. Wherever practical, use rigid pipe
               below the level of the holding tank and
                 in other areas where sewage tends to                 Vessels 65 feet and under may have any of
                   accumulate. Keep the number of                     these three types of MSDs. Vessels over 65
                     connections to a minimum and                     feet must have a Type II or III system.
                        ensure that seals are tight.

                                                  Continued on back

                HOLDING TANKS (Cont’d.)                              PUMPOUT LOCATIONS
                Use enzyme-based products in your holding            Use the NJ Boater’s Pumpout Guide to
                tank to further control odor. Enzymatic              identify a pumpout location near you. For
                products use biological processes, rather            an interactive mapping version of the
                than harsh chemicals, to break down                  Pumpout Guide, visit
                sewage. Be sure to pump and rinse your     
                holding tank prior to initial use of an              Additional information is available by visiting
                enzyme product if you have used            
                chemical-based odor control additives in the
                past.                                                NO DISCHARGE ZONES
                Chemical residues may interfere with the             State law prohibits the discharge of sewage
                effectiveness of enzyme-based products.              in designated No Discharge Zones. When
                Avoid holding tank products that contain             boating within the state’s No Discharge
                quaternary ammonium compounds (QACS)                 Zones, all pathways for discharge of raw
                and formaldehyde. These products may                 sewage must be secured.
                disrupt sewage treatment plants.
                                                                     The following waterbodies have been
                TYPE I AND II MSDS                                   designated No Discharge Zones: Navesink
                                                                     River, Shrewsbury River, Shark River,
                Maintain your Type I or II MSD. Establish a          Manasquan River and Barnegat Bay
                regular maintenance schedule based on your           (southern entrance to the Point Pleasant
                owner’s manual to determine when                     Canal south to Beach Haven Inlet).
                chemicals need to be added, electrodes
                need to be cleaned, etc.
                Do not discharge your Type I or II MSD
                while in a marina, in a swimming area, over
                an oyster bar, or in a poorly flushed area.                  For more information
                         Effluent from legal Type I and Type                      about the
                           II systems contain nutrients and                 Clean Marina Program
                             possibly toxic chemicals. It may                        visit
                               contain pathogens as well.        
                                             Use onshore restrooms
                                             when in port.

Financial assistance has been provided by                                                    This fact sheet is the result of work sponsored by New Jersey
the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972,                                                     Sea Grant with funds from the National Oceanic and
as amended, administered by the Office of                                                    Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Sea Grant, U.S.
Ocean and Coastal Resources                                                                  Department of Commerce, under NOAA grant number
Management, National Oceanic and                                                             NA060AR4170086 and New Jersey Marine Sciences
Atmospheric Administration through the New                                                   Consortium/New Jersey Sea Grant with funds appropriated by
Jersey Coastal Management Office CZM                                                         the State of New Jersey. The statements, findings, conclusions,
Grant Award #NA170Z2343.                                                                     and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not
                                                                                             necessarily reflect the views of New Jersey Sea Grant or the
                                                                                             U.S Department of Commerce. NJSG-06-621.

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