Holding Tanks and Black Water Treatment

Following the introduction by France at the beginning of 2008 to require a holding tank OR waste water treatment for all new boats, the following is a list of EU countries regulations with regard to waste black water treatment, those counties not listed have no specific regulation or come under a general area requirement such as ‘Baltic Sea’ or ‘EU inland waterways:-

On all boats built after 2000 with a fixed toilet, holding tank and possibility for collection from the deck are mandatory. This also applies to boats built after 1980 AND longer than 10.5 m AND wider than 2.8 m. Ban on emptying these tanks within 12 nm of the coast. For other boats ban on using sea toilets within 2 nm of the coast. Ban on emptying ALL toilets in marinas and harbours. More information can be found here.

Septic tanks compulsory for new boats with sea toilet from 1st July 2000.

All recreational craft build after 1st January 2008 calling in marinas and organised moorings shall be fitted with holding tanks or water treatment system.

For new boats cruising the Baltic Sea retention systems are mandatory since 1.1.2003. Ban of using sea toilets within 12 nm according to the Baltic Convention.

Holding tanks for craft on inland waterways.

Legislation in force at 2009 for waste water treatment (black water and bilge water) for users.

Ban on pumping out holding tank waste within 300m from the shoreline in force.

Spain has also introduced holding tank requirements which together with their pollution legislation, essentially mean that vessels cannot discharge untreated sewage within Spanish territorial waters (12 nautical miles). The Spanish legislation is ORDEN FOM/1144/2003, 28 April. More information can be found here….You need to be able to understand Spanish though!

Baltic Strategy, Helcom Agreement, came into force on 1st January 2001. New legislation came into force on 1st October 2002 requiring all pleasure craft harbours to produce and publish a waste management plan. At a HELCOM meeting in January 2004 a preliminary decision was taken to grant exceptions for pleasure craft regarding emptying of toilet tanks and toilet retention systems. A 2006 decision indicates that the rules existing prior to 1st January 2001 regarding the emptying of toilet.

Republic of Turkey Governorship of Mugla
Provincial Local Environmental Commission
Date of Decision Decision No.: 03.07.2009 : 178
The Local Environmental Commission headed by Governor Dr. Ahmet ALTIPARMAK convened on Friday, 03.07.2009,10:00 a.m. to discuss the items on the agenda.
A-) Controlling Waste Generated from Sea Vessels
A -) For prohibiting marine pollution in our province, the following decisions – which are based on the recommendations listed in the report of the Sub Commission formed in accordance with the Article C of the Local Environmental Commission Decision No. 177 dated 24/06/2009- have been identified to apply to all national and foreign flagships within Mugla Province marine areas and inland waters.
1 – The cards will be designed by the Provincial Directorate of Environment and Forestry and will be printed in collaboration with the related public offices and the NGOs.
2 – The issuing and the delivery of the cards to the ships will be performed by the Port Authorities, Customs Guard Directorates, Environmental Protection Agency for Special Areas (EPASA) Directorate in special protection areas, waste acceptance facilities, marina offices, pump-out boats and by the mobile officer teams that will be formed.
3 – In case the said cards have not been procured by the operators of ships, the Port Authorities will refuse sea pass and not issue sea transit licenses to those ships.
4 – 3 digital card readers will be placed at the Coast Guard Commands, 1 digital card reader will be placed at the Provincial Environment and Forestry Directorate and 1 digital card reader will be placed at EPASA Directorate.
5 – Card issuance devices will be placed at the Port Authorities, Customs Guard Directorates, marinas, waste acceptance facilities, pump-out boats and books will be kept for waste acceptance at waste disposal facilities.
6- The waste generators are obliged to pay the waste transfer fee to the licensed waste acceptance units, and those who transfer waste are obliged to pay the disposal fee to the disposal units according to the Official Notice No. 26284 that entered into force on September 9, 2006 “Fees and Principles to be applied as part of the By-Law for Collecting and Controlling Waste from Ships”.
7 – Waste water from hand washing basins and showers must necessarily be connected to waste water tanks and waste water should not be discharged directly into the sea. This feature should be checked by the Port Authorities as part of the surveys conducted for issuing Certificates of Seaworthiness and in case the requirement is not met, the Certificate will not be issued and/or a penalty will be imposed in accordance with the Environment Law No. 2872.
8 – For the boats with automatic float switch bilge discharge systems, the operators of the boats will be held responsible and be subject to penalty in case of any discharge of bilge water into the sea.
9 – Coloring tablets in accordance with the Environment and Health regulation will be placed in waste water tanks to avoid and identify any uncontrolled discharge of waste water by the ships during their open sea transits.
10 – Marinas, ports, fisherman shelters, boat stopover locations and municipalities should be involved in the construction of waste transfer and disposal units and inadequacies should urgently be eliminated.
11- Article C of the Local Environmental Commission Decision No. 141 dated 25/05/2006 will be annulled.
The decisions above have been identified unanimously.
All individuals are obliged to obey the principles and procedures determined for protecting the environmental values and biodiversity of the Fethiye – Gocek Special Protection Region and prohibiting pollution.
All boats entering the Gocek Gulf and the Gocek-Dalaman Bays are obliged to submit their grey/black water and bilge water to the Common Waste Acceptance Facility located on the Gocek Gulf or to the Pump out Boat. Under no circumstances waste water can be discharged into the sea.
All boats entering the Gocek Gulf and the Gocek-Dalaman Bays are obliged to hold the Blue Card issued as part of the Blue Card Program initiated by the Mugla Provincial Environment and Forestry Directorate. The boats are obliged to present the Blue Card each time they submit waste and they are obliged to declare the Blue Card to the authorized officers during controls.

Subject to local authorities and harbour authorities requirements. Port Waste Management Regulations introduced in 1998; make it compulsory for all ports harbours, marinas and yacht clubs to make adequate provision for dealing with waste landed by visiting craft.

A complete list of coastal pump out stations in the UK can be found here. 
A complete list of inland pump out stations in the UK can be found here. 

Marine Sanitation Devices (MSDs)
Anyone that spends a day on a boat with a head has the dubious pleasure of using the “onboard facilities.” Whether you are on a 16’ outboard or a 40’ ketch, the “call of nature” is a regular part of our boating experience. So what’s the big deal about using the water as a big bathroom?
The primary environmental concern with your sewage is not the urine (which is basically sterile) , but the feces. Human feces contains bacteria, pathogens, and nutrients. The idea behind federal regulations concerning sewage on boats is to keep untreated sewage out of our inland and coastal waters, so we don’t have to swim in it or drink it. Read on for the regulatory details.

Sanitation Regulations
In most inland and coastal waters, boats with installed toilets are required to have a sanitation system on board in order to control pollution. Standards have been set by the Environmental Protection Agency, and regulations have been Issued by the Coast Guard, covering the certification and use of Marine Sanitation Devices. Sanitation systems consist of an installed head (toilet), a waste-treating device (MSD), and/or a holding tank.

As with most Coast Guard Certified equipment, there are different classifications to cover most every marine application.
For more information please visit https://www.boatus.org/study-guide/environment/waste/