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Type I MSD

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I am seeking the advice of the collective brain trust.

A major limitation on our last trip down the ICW was the need
to constantly (every two days!) find a pumpout station due to the
small size of our holding tank (10 gal).

One of the things that struck us while in the Bahamas was
the freedom we had to anchor somewhere and stay as long
as we liked because we were able to pump overboard.

In an effort to achieve some of this flexibility while
in the U.S., we were planning on installing an ElectroScan
(a type I MSD) in order to be able to treat our waste and
legally discharge it overboard (except in specially
designated "No Discharge" Zones). There are lots of these
up North, but only one or two small ones here on the
Chesapeake, and a couple on the coast on the way South.

With time running out for our next trip South this Fall,
I was just about ready to purchase
the needed equipment and supplies and start tearing into
the boat, when I discovered that ALL of the Florida keys
are a No Discharge Zone!! Since our current plan is to
spend the winter in the Keys, I'm starting to wonder if
we're past the tipping point in the cost/benefit tradeoff.
I'm estimating about $2500 in materials, and a lot of work
to get it done in the next 5 weeks.

So, now we're faced with a dilemma. Do we

1) Proceed as planned, knowing that we'll still need to pumpout
the whole time in the keys?

2) Scratch the MSD and just deal with finding pumpouts in the
Keys and everywhere else in the U.S.?

3) Scratch the MSD and the Keys, and go back to the Bahamas for the
winter, hitting Eluthera and the Abacos (which we missed last trip)?

4) Do something else we haven't thought of?

Recommendations welcome and eagerly sought after!

- What is your experience with finding pumpouts in the Keys?
- How often do you need to pumpout?
- Any opinion on the future viability of Type I MSDs?
- What about composting heads? (The Peat-Moss needed may be
hard to find in the Bahamas.) And you still need to deal with
handling and disposing of the liquid.

Thanks in advance!

Rusty Pelican:
The age old question that has perplexed us Humans since Eden.
The options are very limited.

Reading your post, i would recommend replacing the 20 Gal bow tank with a custom build holding tank in the 30gl range in conjunction with a macerating head/pump. This option is just "extending" not solving the problem, it just gives you more time between some type of action.
Up here in the NE, everywhere is a no discharge zone

The "Human Kitty litter" heads are a pain and smell.
Good Luck


We have the 40 gal bow water tank option, and need every gallon of that when we're in the Bahamas!  This only left room in the bow for a 10 gal holding tank (these are all OEM).

I agree with your thoughts on the composting heads, though I have no experience with them.  I just don't want to be getting that intimate with my waste on a regular basis.  It strikes me like going back to an outhouse from a flush toilet.

I'm in the process of trying to add a macerator pump to our existing tank, so we at least have the option of heading 3-5 miles offshore to legaly pump out our tank.  Right now we have no way to empty the tank without a shoreside pumpout, and those were often hard to find.

Rusty Pelican:
An electric head with a macerator may well be your solution..Or..
Just a thought, maybe down size the 40 gl to 20gl or so, expand the holding tank, go the macerator route and explore water capture systems.
Does it rain much in the Bahamas?

Water capture is only practical if you go in the summer, wnen it rains a lot.  But its way too hot then.  We go in the winter when it hardly rains at all.

I've got a Jabsco macerator pump on order, and the stainless stud upgrade kit (the original studs would corrode and leak within a year). Still haven't figured out an installation plan yet.  Space is really tight on the 323 up there.  I'll heep you posted.


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