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It's the Law

Discharge of Waste


All vessels, including houseboats and floating cabins, that are equipped with a marine toilet must have a wastewater holding system to prevent the discharge of waste products into surrounding waters.

A marine toilet is considered to be any equipment installed on board a vessel that is designed to receive, retain, treat, or discharge sewage and any process to treat such sewage. A portable toilet is not considered to be a marine toilet.

Typical Marine Sanitation Device

It is illegal for a vessel to pump out sewage from a wastewater holding system, a portable toilet, or a marine sanitation device (MSD) into surrounding waters except into an approved pump-out facility or into a sewer system located on dry land.

All vessels equipped with a marine toilet must be registered with the Georgia DNR. You will be issued a Marine Toilet Certificate decal that must be affixed to the hull adjacent to the vessel’s registration number. The one-time certification fee is $5.00. No renewal of the certificate is required, and it is transferable to any subsequent owner of the vessel.

Vessels equipped with a marine toilet must follow these regulations.

  • If operated on Lakes Allatoona, Blackshear, Blue Ridge, Clarks Hill, Hartwell, Russell, Seminole, Sidney Lanier, Sinclair, Walter F. George Reservoir, or West Point, the vessel’s marine toilet must be equipped with a holding tank that is built so that it can be emptied only by being pumped out. The Y valve must be removed to prevent discharge.
  • If built before January 1, 1978, the vessel may be equipped with a fully operable USCG–certified MSD if the MSD is part of the vessel’s original equipment.
  • Sewage from the wastewater holding system or MSD must conform to the current guidelines for disposal.

You must maintain a record, going back at least one year, of the name and location of the pump-out facilities you use to empty your holding system and the dates of such use.

Marine Sanitation Device (MSD)
Georgia Marine Toilet Certificate decal