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First, we'll look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of portable toilets and holding tanks in general. Later, we'll examine holding tank systems and their plumbing arrangements in greater detail.
While a portable toilet is not technically considered a MSD under the law (since it is not "installed"), it may be the simplest, least expensive way to comply with the extent of this law.
Holding tank systems vary in complexity depending on what they are designed to do. There are four basic arrangements.
The holding tank is installed in line between the toilet and the deck pumpout fitting.
A diverter "Y" valve is installed in the line between the holding tank and deck pumpout fitting to allow the tank's contents to be pumped overboard where legal (in the ocean beyond the three mile limit). The "Y" valve must be secured to prevent over board discharge in the Chesapeake Bay and it's tributaries.
Note: A "Y" valve is not required in this option. The deck pumpout fitting and the overboard through-hull valve are normally pressure tight and will function alternatively as selected. Use of a "Y" valve however, will keep unused sections of the hose or pipe from being unnecessarily "wet" (filled with sewage) and provide an additional safeguard against accidental overboard discharge. If a "Y" valve is not installed and secured when operating within the three mile offshore limit, the discharge through-hull valve must be so secured.
"Y" valves are installed in line between the toilet and holding tank and between the holding tank and deck pumpout fitting.
When using a type I or II holding system, you should install a holding tank for use when boating in environmentally sensitive areas or when moored or dockside. A "Y" valve, is installed in line between the treatment system and holding tank.
These four basic arrangements can be adapted depending on the number and type of toilet(s) installed and whether in-line waste treatment is desired. The section on equipment selection addresses many of the options available.
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