Part and parcel of operating a cruising boat on Wabamun Lake is the responsibility to maintain the cleanliness of the water you are 'borrowing'. This may seem like an odd word, but if you consider that a person is on the water for a short time, followed by someone else, then the word borrowing applies. This being the case, we must endeavour to keep the place clean for the permanent residents; fish, birds, bugs, etc. We all owe it to the ecology and ourselves to practice green boating. After all, Wabamun Lake does not have a river flowing through it to flush stuff out. But then, this is not an excuse for messing the place up either! Consider the fact that Wabamun Lake has only a few creeks trickling fresh water into it and that the majority of water is replaced by snow melt or rain.
With this in mind, AOSA formally supports and adheres to a
policy of "NO DUMPING" of faecal coliform effluent into Wabamun Lake.
Most pocket cruiser sailboats are
equipped with a porta-potty that can be
carried to shore. This makes it relatively easy to dump the effluents into a
toilet at home or a in a septic holding tank. SBYC, EYC have shore dumping facilities
for their members. Other boats are equipped with a holding tank that
can be pumped out. The Wabamun Marina has a pay for use facility at
their gas dock that is available to the public. From a legal point of view it should be noted that, "the introduction of effluent into
the lake is an offence under the Fisheries Act and could result in the culprit
being charged." For more information click on
water sewage regulations. TOP
Species to Alberta Lakes -
Prevent the spread of mussels.
legislation and guideline details. TOP
Lake Management Society (ALMS) -
Lake Watch is a volunteer-based water quality
monitoring program of Alberta lakes. This is the group you report your
Secchi disk readings to. Phil Sutton is our local
- The Wabamun
Watershed Management Council is a not-for-profit society that
represents a cross-section of Wabamun Lake stakeholders who are committed to
maintaining and improving the health of the lake and its watershed. The
Wabamun Lake sailors, represented through AOSA, is one of the stakeholders
represented by a sailor who sits on the board and attends monthly meetings.
As feedback to Wabamun sailors, I'll post the
minutes of the meetings here.
Please go to the
web site for further information. TOP
On the October 19th annual general meeting for the Wabamun Watershed Management Council I submitted a proposal for a "citizen operated “Secchi Disk day" with measurements to be taken by volunteer boaters on 9 central Alberta Recreational Lakes "CARL," including Wabamun. This day will be called “Dip in Day” and will hook up with the “Alberta Water Quality Awareness (AWQA) Day," with an ongoing data collection on the water turbidity of the lakes. The proposal was warmly received and supported by Dr. David Schindler, whose presentation followed Phil's. It was subsequently presented at the annual CARL meeting where it was also well received.
What is a Secchi Disk you ask? It is a plastic disk 20 cm. in diameter divided into quarters that are painted alternately black and white. (Think of the BMW hood emblem). The disk was developed in 1865 by an Italian priest named Pietro Angelo Secchi to measure the turbidity (transparency) of the Mediterranean. The disk can be mounted on the end of pole or line and is lowered into the water. The depth at which the pattern is no longer visible is taken as a measure of the water transparency. This measure is known as the Secchi depth and is related to water turbidity. His technique has now become a standard for measuring water quality.
need to do it commit half an hour weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to take a
measurement of the
lake's Water Turbidity.
Alberta is the only jurisdiction in North America not taking these measurements.
Elsewhere the program is highly successful in improving
water bodies by showing the water quality problems to the public in an easy to
So if you have a small boat, anything from a canoe on up that is built close to the water, and can devote a little time to making Alberta a better place, PLEASE contact Phil Sutton (780) 450-1277 or Glen Gustafson (780) 960-8631, to signify your interest.
There will be a small
investment in time for training and taking the measurement as well as the
equipment which should cost about $50.00 or less if we buy in bulk.
Boats could be anything from a canoe to small fishing boat, runabout or bow
rider. A Pontoon boat, large sail boat or cabin cruiser with high freeboard
will not work unless you can get right down to water level.
Phil Sutton WWMC. TOP
official! The controversial new sewage regulations for small craft have
been finalized and will go into effect
in 2012 for vessels built prior to May 2007. The new regulations will
require that sewage be either treated or contained, and subsequently
disposed of at a pump-out facility or, if none is available, a specified
distance from shore while under way.
Many of the more problematic concerns were addressed, and on May 3, 2007, the new regulations for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and for Dangerous Chemicals were published in the Canada Gazette Part II and brought into law. These regulations are quite detailed and include pollutants such as oil, noxious liquids, dangerous chemicals, garbage, air, anti-fouling systems and, of course, sewage, and are applicable to large commercial vessels, vessels carrying more than 15 persons, and pleasure craft. Publishing the new regulations allowed TC to repeal a number of old regulations, including the former Pleasure Craft Sewage Pollution Prevention Regulations and the Non-Pleasure Craft Sewage Pollution Prevention Regulations.
According to TC, these new regulations will permit Canada to accede to the IMO (International Maritime Organization) Annex IV of the Pollution Convention. Previously, boaters could discharge sewage in most B.C. waters except those specifically designated as “No Discharge Areas” (now known as Designated Sewage Areas). For those wishing to view the whole document, the regulations are published in the Canada Gazette. Pacific Yachting magazine has provided a summary as follows.
IMPLEMENTATION - For “new” vessels built after May 3, 2007, and for all vessels operating in a Designated Sewage Area, these regulations must now be complied with effective immediately. For vessels in existence when these regulations were gazetted, compliance is required within five years (by May 3, 2012).
APPROVED HEAD - Most pleasure boats will need to be equipped with an approved marine sanitation device (MSD), holding tank or facility for temporary storage. The “approved” MSD for recreational boats must be a U.S. Coast Guard Type II. A holding tank must be properly constructed, have adequate capacity, and have a means of determining fill level without the tank being opened. “Facility for Temporary Storage” is permitted if it is not practical to install either an MSD or a holding tank, and a measure is in place to ensure the proper disposal of sewage. This would include devices such as non-plumbed porta-potty or buckets.
SEWAGE DISCHARGE - Except when a discharge is necessary for the saving of lives, safety of the vessel or as otherwise specifically authorized, no discharge of sewage or sewage sludge is permitted.
The discharge of sewage from a vessel is, however, authorized if the vessel is equipped with:
MSD (USCG Type II) are devices that treat sewage with disinfectant chemicals (and by other means) to a specified level before discharge. Because of size and power requirements, MSDs are usually only found on large yachts.
Note: Operational testing of effluent from a MSD may be required to ensure that the effluent meets the required fecal coliform standards, and the total suspended solids content of the samples of effluent is 50 mg/L or less; the five-day biochemical oxygen demand of the samples of effluent is 50 mg/L or less; and in the case of chlorine used as a disinfectant, the total residual chlorine content of the samples of effluent is 0.5 mg/L or less.
DESIGNATED SEWAGE AREAS - Schedule 4 to the new regulations lists and describes the former 17 “No Discharge Areas” (now known as Designated Sewage Areas) still in effect. They are:
- A vessels with a head is expected to be equipped with an approved MSD
or some means of sewage containment (holding tank). With an approved MSD, sewage may, under specified conditions, be discharged into most
B.C. waters one mile or more from shore. Untreated sewage may, under
specified conditions, be discharged into most B.C. waters three miles or
more from shore. In a body of water less than six miles across and under
specified conditions, sewage must be discharged as far from shore as
possible, providing a pump-out facility is not available. TOP
Certain chemical based boat maintenance jobs should never be done while the boat is afloat for the risk of spilling toxic stuff in the water. The marine life simply cannot live it. If the marine life can't live with it, neither can you! These jobs are OK to do while the boat is on land provided you can contain and safely dispose of the cleaners, etc. However, some maintenance jobs can be performed while the boat is afloat provided the chemicals are "environmentally friendly" AND you take the precautions to prevent spillage. The obvious conclusion should come to mind, "don't pollute the water or shores around the lake." Unfortunately labels are not always understandable. For instance, many cleaners contain phosphates that promote algae growth and others contain minute amounts of toxics that will kill any life form.
In the interest of a safer environment I'm offering here a list of chemicals that are "safe" to use while on the water. I welcome you to add to this list to share your knowledge with the rest of the boating community. Please email suggestions to me.
We all owe it to the ecology and ourselves to practice
green boating as much as possible.
Ultimately we are all part of the problem or part of the