Thursday, October 7, 2010

Maryland Department of the Environment goes after Marinas, Boaters, and Gray Water

From 2010 Proposed Permit

Found at the Maryland Department of the Environment website.

Don't use your bilge pumps or bathe!

"Where the vessel does not have adequate storage capacity to eliminate such

discharges, gray water production and discharge should be minimized while moored or

in nutrient impaired waters subject to this permit (e.g.,the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries).."

"Bilge waters shall not be discharged to waters of the State if solvents, detergents,

emulsifying agents or dispersants have been added to the bilge (this includes soaps)."

Don't clean your bottom!

"Vessel washing can cause discharges of harmful pollutants either directly discharged to waters of the State or intermingling with storm water. The permit identifies specific conditions on where and how vessels are to be washed, where and how maintenance activities are to be performed and how to prevent exposure of storm water to these activities. Washing of boat bottoms painted with soft ablative paints, or paints which create a visible plume, may not be performed in water. Additionally, the removal of any paints while a vessel is in the water is prohibited. Discharges that contain visible oil sheen, persistent foam or floating solids are prohibited from being discharged to waters of the State."

Don't wash your boat!

"Recommend cleaning vessels on land in a non-compact area and for best filtration, at a
distance from surface waters"

Last year they tried to go after treated discharges from Type I and Type II MSDs. I knew gray water would be next. So for all those boaters with Type III MSDs (holding tanks) who think a "no discharge zone" is just fine, think again! They're coming after you next. They want us off the water!

I suggest we boaters start lighting up the switchboard at MDE: (410) 537-3000

Monday, April 19, 2010

We won! (for now)

It took me a little extra time to get all the facts straight, but the proposed 2010 NDZ legislation for Maryland is officially dead.  The confusion was from the Senate, where the committee passed the bill with amendments.  It was quite decent what they had done (read it here - PDF format).  They changed the bill into a "study" bill, with DNR taking the lead and having a due date of 12/1/11.  That would have ensured no other NDZ legislation until at least the 2012 legislative session.  However, that bill died in the House, and thus, nothing on this topic passed.  What does this mean?  For right now, it's over.  But I would venture to guess that if Doug Gansler is re-elected as AG come November, he'll bring it up again for the 2011 session.  And if he does, I'll be there to fight it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Update: SB 513 was voted on in Education Health and Environmental Affairs, this afternoon.

"SB 513 was amended and turned into a “study bill.” The bill now says that the Department of Natural Resources shall study and make recommendations for initiating a no-discharge zone in all Maryland waters. The final report will be due to the Governor and General Assembly on or before December 1, 2011. Maryland waters will most likely not be deemed a no-discharge zone until the study is completed.

SB 513 will most likely be on the floor of the Senate tomorrow for approval by the entire Senate body. As we are only four working days from the end of the legislative session, I am unsure if the amended version of this bill will have time to get through the Senate and the House as is required for a bill to become a law."
I'm going to hope the lack of days remaining helps defeat this still horrible legislation.  Considering that DNR reports to the AG's office, I'm not real confident this will be a fair and scientific study.

Monday, April 5, 2010

CALL TO ACTION - SB513 scheduled for a vote this week!

The Senate Bill still survives.  If you're against this bill (SB513), then please take a few moments to call the Senators on the committee who will be voting on it this week.  Here's a list (it's much shorter than the House).  If you don't have time for all, please at least contact the first two.  PLEASE BE NICE!  Senator Conway has been known to swing her vote against mobs of callers who aren't nice.

*Joan Carter-Conway - 3145# -

Roy P. Dyson - 3673# -

Richard F. Colburn - 3590# -
*David C. Harrington - 3745# -
Andrew P. Harris - 3706# -
*Mike Lenett - 3151# -
*Paul G Pinsky 3155# -
Edward R. Reilly - 3568# -
James C. Rosapepe - 3141# -

(To contact by telephone, enter the extensions above after 1-800-492-7122, followed by the # sign)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Call to Action - Contact House Environmental Matters Committee TODAY!

We have word that work is still needed to kill this bill in the House Environmental Matters Committee.  Please take a few moments to call (not e-mail) the committee members to request that they oppose this bill (HB1257 - No Discharge for MD Waters).  Feel free to have a few of the articles linked at the top of this blog open so you have plenty of talking points.

House Environmental Matters Committee

The Honorable Maggie McIntosh
Chair, House Environmental Matters Committee
Phone: 410-841-3990

The Honorable James E. Malone, Jr.
Vice-Chair, House Environmental Matters Committee
Phone: 410-841-3378

The Honorable S. Saqib Ali
Phone: 410-841-3021

The Honorable Pamela G. Beidle
Phone: 410-841-3370

The Honorable Elizabeth Bobo
Phone: 410-841-3205

The Honorable Rudolph C. Cane
Phone: 410-841-3427

The Honorable Alfred Clinton Carr, Jr.
Phone: 410-841-3110

The Honorable Virginia P. Clagett
Phone: 410-841-3211

The Honorable Barbara A. Frush
Phone: 410-841-3114

The Honorable Cheryl D. Glenn
Phone: 410-841-3257

The Honorable Anne Healey
Phone: 410-841-3961

The Honorable Marvin E. Holmes, Jr.
Phone: 410-841-3310

The Honorable Thomas Hucker
Phone: 410-841-3474

The Honorable Stephen W. Lafferty
Phone: 410-841-3487

The Honorable Doyle L. Niemann
Phone: 410-841-3326

The Honorable H. Wayne Norman, Jr.
Phone: 410-841-3284

The Honorable Anthony J. O’Donnell
Phone: 410-841-3314

The Honorable Andrew A. Serafini
Phone: 410-841-3447

The Honorable Tanya Thornton Shewell
Phone: 410-841-3070

The Honorable Richard A. Sossi
Phone: 410-841-3543

The Honorable Dana M. Stein
Phone: 410-841-3527

The Honorable Paul S. Stull
Phone: 410-841-3288

The Honorable Michael H. Weir, Jr.
Phone: 410-841-3328

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The hearings are over. Now we wait.

Both hearings are over, thank God. What a way to waste about 8 hours of my life. I'd like to thank everyone who joined me in my efforts against this. There was some great testimony (not including the lies from the Attorney General and his staff).  Word from the Senate doesn't look good for the passage of their version of the bill. And my contact on the House committee said that not only will they have plenty to discuss in sub-committee in the next few weeks, but if the Senate shelves it, so will they.

Cross your fingers. If you haven't done so already, keep the e-mails and phone calls coming. This isn't over yet.

If the AG's figures are to be believed, boaters on the Chesapeake with Type I devices contribute .003% of the nutrient load to the Chesapeake Bay.  A quote directly from the AG (Gansler):  "This bill is our top priority".  Really?  Couldn't you be doing something a little more productive with your time?  I guess not considering you couldn't do anything about the 30 million gallons Baltimore County dumped into the Patapsco River just last weekend.  This lame bill is a pathetic attempt by Gansler and Fitzsimmons to attack an innocent group of people because they lack the ability to go after the real problems.  As Representative O'Donnell stated:  Government has a hard time shining the spotlight on itself.

(note: I am paraphrasing Gansler's words as I didn't write them down when he said them.  But that's the general statement he made.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A big week coming.

It's going to be a big week.  The Senate hearing for SB513 will be this coming Tuesday, 3/16/10, at 1pm.  The House hearing for HB1257 is Friday, 3/19/10 at 1pm.  If you can make either date, please do.  Please be polite when testifying and keep your comments as brief as possible.  If someone ahead of you says what you're going to say, please don't repeat.  Just say "I second so-and-so's comments".

For your reading pleasure, here's an article from Raritan Engineering from May of 2000:
The law of unintended consequences

And a great new article from Tom Neale, which has some very interesting facts:
Maryland Moves to Increase Pollution in Chesapeake

Friday, February 26, 2010

HB1257 Hearing on 3/19/10 at 1pm

The hearing for HB1257 will be held on March 19, 2010 at 1pm.

For anyone interested in speaking, I will have more information about doing such in the coming days.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MTAM Comments on Bay-wide No Discharge Zone

Marine Trades Association of Maryland comments on proposed Maryland NDZ legislation.

Read full document here.
Please read this article as it puts some things into a proper perspective. Keep in mind that the area where this occurred is already a NDZ and has been for years. 2.5 million gallons of raw sewage discharged is the eqivalent of 62,000 boats each with a 40 gallon holding tank being discharged all at once. The officials know that sewage is dumped into the nations waters all the time and they know they can't prevent these events from happening. The notion of banning responsible use of TYPE I & II MSD's under the pretense that this will improve water quality is nothing more than an emotional/political ploy that would never stand up to a scientific justification.

Dale Weatherstone.
Raritan Engineering
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Update 2/18/10

The Maryland Senate Hearing on SB513 will be held  on 3/16/10 at 1pm.

The bill has also made it to the House as HB1257.

Please contact the House Environmental Matters Committee by phone as well as e-mail.  Use this tool for e-mail:
(follow instructions at top)

Committee Members:
Chair: Maggie McIntosh

*Vice Chair: James E. Malone, Jr.
Saqib Ali
*Tom Hucker
*Pamela G. Beidle
*Stephen W. Lafferty
Elizabeth Bobo
*Doyle L. Niemann
Rudolph C. Cane
H. Wayne Norman
*Alfred C. Carr, Jr.
Anthony J. O'Donnell
Virginia P. Clagett
Andrew A. Serafini
*Barbara A. Frush
Tanya T. Shewell
*Cheryl D. Glenn
Richard A. Sossi
*Anne Healey
*Dana M. Stein
*Marvin E. Holmes, Jr.
Paul S. Stull
Michael H. Weir, Jr.


On a related note, there is a bill in the House concerning delaying, weakening storm-water pollution controls. It will be interesting to see which bill gets more support.,0,3385183.story

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SB513 Sponsors ignore the facts

Vic Willman, from Raritan Engineering, took a look at this link:

and did some math. Take a look and then ask why are the sponsors of SB513 going after Type I and Type II MSD owners who do not pollute at all (and even if you believe their "nutrient" claims, then we contribute
.00034 or three thousands of 1% of the annual nutrient load to the Bay).  Then use this link to contact the members of the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Committee and let them know you oppose SB513.

(Follow the instructions to click the first Senator's name, then shift-click the last name to select all of them)

Vic's Figures:

I tallied up the numbers for 2009 and it came to a little over 26,000,000 gallons, just from Baltimore City and Baltimore County! Twenty-six million gallons! On 10/28/09, there were over 800,000 gallons and on 12/26/09, 22,000,000 gallons! Twenty-two million gallons in just one day! It was the day after Christmas and the overflow lasted for 9 1/2 hours, and went into the Patapsco River - which incidently, empties into the Chesapeake. And these are the figures right from the State of Maryland, plus about 1/3 of the entries didn't put in an estimate of the overflow; they just left it blank! Maybe another 200,000 (?) gallons or so, that weren't even counted.

To match that, at approximately 1/2 gallon of water per flush of a marine toilet, there would have to be 52 million flushes of marine toilets during 2009 somewhere on the Bay, and their discharges would all have to be untreated, which they are not.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sanitary Sewer Overflows

I spent my morning calling the Senators on the committe this SB513 is in.  Senator Joan Carter-Conway was nice enough to return my call.  But she was rather scary when I told her that the only item in question with Type I and Type II MSDs is nutrient output.  She said "every little bit helps".  I responed that we're talking three thousands of 1 percent of the bay's annual nutrient load.  Hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage are dumped into Maryland waters every year by municipalities, and she wants to go after three thousands of 1 percent of the nutrient load.  SCARY!

Here's a fun little link. Take a look at all the RAW sewage that municipal waste treatment plants dump into Maryland waters:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

SB513 is in the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Committee.  Please contact the committee members to let them know how you feel about this legislation.  Remember, Type I and Type II Marine Sanitation Devices do a much better job of treating waste than municipal waste treatment plants.  The AG's office tries to focus on nutrient output from these devices, but the EPA never required Type I or Type II to do anything with nutrients.  And the facts are that of all the Type I and Type II devices on use in the Chesapeake (somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000), the nutrient output of all devices combined is less than a fraction of 1% of the annual nutrient load to the Bay.  I repeat, a FRACTION of 1%!

Senate Education, Health & Environmental Committee members (note: some are *sponsors!):

*Joan Carter-Conway - 3145# -
Roy P. Dyson - 3673# -
Richard F. Colburn - 3590# -
*David C. Harrington - 3745# -
Andrew P. Harris - 3706# -
*Mike Lenett - 3151# -
*Paul G Pinsky 3155# -
Edward R. Reilly - 3568# -
James C. Rosapepe - 3141# -

(To contact by telephone, enter the extensions above after 1-800-492-7122, followed by the # sign)

You may also use this tool to easily e-mail all members of the committee (although phone calls are also recommended):

Follow the instructions to click the first Senator's name, then shift-click the last name to select all of them.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I met with Erin Fitzsimmons at the AG's office this morning.  While the meeting was very polite, the outcome was as expected.  The bill has already been introduced in the Senate (SB513), and will be introduced in the House this coming Friday, 2/5/10.  I will try and get the names of the Senate members on the Education Health and Environmental Affairs committe and post them here.

One interesting point from the meeting.  Even thought I don't agree that Type I or Type II approved marine sanitation device output is any problem whatsoever, I asked Ms. Fitzsimmons what percentage of the overall problem she thought boaters as a whole were.  Her answer:  "less than 1 percent".

Wow, thousands of us are either going to have to spend thousands of dollars to modify our boats, or we become instant criminals.  Lovely.

Here's the bill for your reading pleasure.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Maryland Attorney General to propose all Maryland waters as NDZ

I have a meeting tomorrow morning at the Attorney General's office in Baltimore concerning their upcoming legislation to try and designate all Maryland waters (including the Chesapeake Bay) as a No Discharge Zone (NDZ). As I'm sure you're aware, it is ALREADY ILLEGAL to discharge untreated waste into the Chesapeake. However, treated waste may be discharged in all of the Bay except Herring Bay outside of Annapolis. Treated waste must come from a Type I or Type II USCG approve Marine Sanitation Device (MSD). I know many of you have a Type III device (a holding tank), but many of us have Type I. The output of Type I and Type II devices is much cleaner than what a municipal waste treatment plant discharges. Thus, it makes no sense for a boat on Rock Creek that has a Type I device to have to pump-out untreated waste, have it hauled up the creek to the Pasadena plant, treated less, and then discharged back into Rock Creek. Boat US estimates that there are close to 5,000 Type I devices in use on the Chesapeake. Can you imagine the lines for pump-outs on the weekends if 5,000 more boaters need to pump-out?

I'll update again after the meeting.  If the AG's office continues to move forward and introduce the bill, the next step will be to try and kill this horrible legislation in committee.  

Stay tuned.