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Course Outline

Pump-out sign
Signs like this one are posted at pump-out stations.

The discharge of any sewage from marine toilets is prohibited on Oregon’s freshwater lakes, impoundments, and reservoirs that are not accessible by boat from the ocean. Report illegal sewage discharge to the USCG or the Water Quality Division of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The use of approved types of marine sanitation devices (MSDs) is required on the Columbia, Willamette, and Snake Rivers and on the navigable portions of all coastal rivers. Discharge of untreated sewage is permitted only beyond the three-mile ocean limit.

There are three types of MSDs.

  • Types I and II MSDs are usually found on large vessels. Waste is treated with special chemicals to kill bacteria before the waste is discharged. Types I and II MSDs with Y valves that would direct the waste overboard must be secured so that the valve cannot be opened. This can be done by placing a lock or non-reusable seal on the Y valve or by taking the handle off the Y valve.
  • Type III MSDs provide no treatment and are either holding tanks or portable toilets. Collected waste should be taken ashore and disposed of in a pump-out station or onshore toilet.

Vessels 65 feet or less in length may use a Type I, II, or III MSD. Vessels more than 65 feet in length must install a Type II or III MSD.

All installed devices must be USCG–certified.

MSD at pump-out station
Typical MSD
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