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Onboard sewage management is becoming a concern for many Queensland private boat owners and commercial boat operators since the legislation came into effect from 1st July 2004.

This legislation defines the marine sewage management requirements introduced within Queensland under the Transport Operation (Marine Pollution) Act 1995 and Transport Operation (Marine Pollution Regulation) 1995.logo

The legislation was developed following extensive industry and key stakeholder consultation and presents a viable means for preventing further marine pollution; serious penalties apply for non-compliance.

What the government class as Sewage under the Act.
Sewage is any wate discharged from toilets or urinals (i.e. ‘black’ water). It does not include ‘grey’ water from sinks or showers.

Sewage is defined as either untreated (raw), or treated and under the Act, macerated sewage is not classed as ‘treated’ waste. As from 1 July 2004, all sewage discharged within the 12 mile limit which is not treated must have been macerated prior to discharge.

Treated sewage is macerated sewage that has been processed to conform to the Act and is classed in Australia as Class ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ and under the US Coastguard requirements as type ‘(I)’ or type ‘(II)’.

The three grades of treated sewage (A, B or C) defined in the legislation reflect the ability of the onboard treatment system to ‘process’ the sewage (e.g. to reduce the faecal coliform count only as required for Grade C). Each grade of sewage treatment system must comply with its own guidelines under the legislation and must be certified as meeting that standard by an appropriate authority.

Ship owners and operators need to be conversant with the new sewage management requirements and take appropriate action to ensure that their vessels are equipped and operated in such a manner as to be compliant. Further information is available from the Maritime Safety Queensland website.

A brief breakdown on the Australian requirements:

  • Grade ‘A’ is basically for ships over 85 feet in length
  • Grade ‘B’ is also for ships over 85 feet.
  • Grade ‘C’ is suitable for all vessels up to 84 feet from a 20 foot trailer boat up to most pleasure and commercial vessels, even ferries (if configured correctly) that have 100 plus people aboard.

The following links provide more information:

Marine Pollution: http://www.msq.qld.gov.au/Marine-pollution/Sewage.aspx

Vessel-sourced sewage discharge restriction maps:

Nil discharge waters for untreated sewage for all ships (other than a declared ship):

Nil discharge untreated
Nil discharge waters for treated sewage for all ships (other than a declared ship):