Know Your Laws

• It is against federal and state law to discharge untreated sewage anywhere within the three-mile territorial limit (including lakes, rivers, reservoirs or coastal water within three miles offshore) or even treated sewage into any designated No Discharge Zone (33 CFR 140.3 and 33USC 1251 et seq.). Fines of up to $2,000 can be imposed for illegal discharges (CWA §312 (j).

• State law also prohibits dumping any treated or untreated human waste in a marina, yacht harbor, fresh water lake, reservoir, or fresh water impoundment, No Discharge Zone, and rivers that don’t support interstate traffic. It’s illegal to discharge untreated sewage into a Sanctuary and it’s generally illegal to discharge treated sewage (from MSD Type I and II) if you have sufficient holding tank capacity (15 CFR §922.72; 922.82; 922.112; and 922.132.). If you operate in these waters, your Type I or II MSD must be connected to a holding tank or secured to prevent all sewage discharges.

• All boats with installed toilets must have a U.S. Coast Guard certified Marine Sanitation Device if operating in U.S. navigational waters. [33 CFR Part 159].

• Vessels with a Type I or Type II Marine Sanitation Device must treat their sewage before discharge. For a Type I MSD, the fecal coliform count in the effluent must be no greater than 1,000 per 100 milliliters of water and have no visible floating solids. For a Type II MSD, the fecal coliform count must be no greater than 200 per 100 milliliters, and suspended solids no greater than 150 milligrams per liter. [33 CFR Part 159] Discharges of any kind, treated or not, are prohibited in Richardson Bay — a designated No-Discharge Area. [40 CFR Part 140.4]

• When operating on the navigable waters of any lake, reservoir, or freshwater impoundment, the vessel toilet must be sealed, rendered inoperable, or designed so no human sewage can be discharged in the water. [Div.104, Part 13, Chapter A, CHSC]

• More rules and regs at