Sewage Waste Head Management and/or Marine Sanitation Devices

The six systems designed to deal with sewage on recreational and small fishing vessels are.


Marine Sanitation Device (MSD) Type 1

There is a great deal of concern about the impact the chemicals this system uses to break up and disinfect sewage is having on the environment after it is discharged overboard.

Marine Sanitation Device (MSD) Type 2

Maceration (Maceration, in sewage treatment the use of a machine that reduces human waste to a slurry, which can then be moved by pumping) and biological decomposition. This type of unit is more expensive but is more thorough in its’ treatment of raw waste material.


Marine Sanitation Device (MSD) Type 3

Storage of untreated sewage in a holding tank until the unit can be discharged at a pump station. Deodorizers can be used to eliminate odours emanating from the holding tank. Costs for holding tanks are usually less than $1,500.00

Portable self-contained toilet

Ontario does not allow portable toilets on its’ waterways. But the other provinces do and if you have one remember to discharge your waste at a proper pump station or disposal site.


Over the side

As a common courtesy do not discharge over the side while moored at a dock, anchored in a harbour or bay, or near people swimming or scuba diving, etc. If you do discharge over the side you are required to comply with local pollution prevention regulations.

Holding Tanks

Refrain from using disinfectants which contain harsh chemicals in holding tanks, they will be discharged with the sewage into pump-out facilities on shore.

Tips for pumping out your sewage system:

  • Always follow the pump-out instructions
  • If the station you are at has no posted instructions ask staff for them.
  • Rinse the system with fresh water after pumping-out. Discharge this water into the station also.
  • Pump out only your holding tank. Never empty someone elses’. They must do it themselves
  • Turn the pump off after you are finished using the system.

Taking charge of sewage waste

  •  Always keep your system up to code.
  • Be discrete with your use. Don’t discharge every time you flush.
  • Encourage any marinas and yacht clubs you frequent or are a member of to install sanitation systems if they do not already have them.
  • Again: Do not pump your sewage overboard in anchorages, marinas, or swimming areas.

An important note to remember

Discharging sewage is prohibited in some Canadian waters. Please consult the Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and for Dangerous Chemicals to find out where.