The vessel is participating in military
To prohibit the discharge of toxic pollutants
o p e r a t i o n s and exercises within the
in toxic amounts.
navigable waters and retaining the sewage
o n board would interfere with the
To provide federal financial assistance to
operational effectiveness or pose a health
construct publicly owned waste treatment
hazard to the personnel on board.
The vessel is anchored or moored and
To develop and implement regional waste
sewage reception facilities are not available
treatment management planning processes.
or foul weather, poor visibility, or unsafe
environmental conditions make the use of
To research, develop, and demonstrate the
technology necessary to eliminate the
discharge of pollutants into our nation's
The vessel is in overhaul, and operation of
the MSD would interfere with ongoing
PL 92-500 covers the dumping of oil, chemicals,
trash, and other materials into our streams and
The vessel's MSD is inoperable because of
navigable waters. The section of the law that we are
equipment malfunction or equipment
concerned with is section 312, which is the guideline
installation or repairs within the system.
for marine sanitation devices (MSDs). Revisions to
PL 92-500 are listed in PL 95-217 of December 27,
The health and safety of the crew is to be the
1977. Other notices, directives, specifications, and
primary consideration. If the sewage is to be
instructions that govern MSDs are as follows:
discharged overboard, the commanding officer must
ensure that the discharge is as far from land as
Department of Defense Directive 6050.4
possible and the amount being discharged is kept to
a minimum. Sanitation is a major concern. It needs
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 33 CFR
to be addressed before we discuss the various
159 and 40 CFR 140
United States Code, Title 33, Section 1322
Sewage is defined as a mixture of all liquid
OPNAVINST 5090.1, Chapter 12
domestic wastes, especially human body wastes
(fecal matter and urine). Sewage contains large
NSTM, chapter 593
numbers of microorganisms (hundreds of millions
per milliliter), some of which are disease bearing,
When you refer to these publications, be sure
such as typhoid, polio, and infectious hepatitis.
you have the current editions.
Bacteria and viruses enter the human body
through openings such as the mouth, nose, and open
installing MSDs in naval vessels. All vessels were to
sores. Therefore, you should observe the following
be in compliance with the laws and regulations by
basic precautions when working in sewage handling
April 1, 1981. However, some exceptions have been
Department of Defense vessels may
discharge overboard within the U.S. navigable
--NEVER eat, drink, or smoke while working in
waters (3-mile limit) if the vessels meet one of the
sewage spaces or on sewage equipment.
--NEVER work on sewage handling equipment
The vessel cannot keep all ship-generated
if you have open cuts or sores.
sewage on board until it can be disposed of
--Keep equipment clean at ALL times.