Boating waste disposal guidelines
A guide to assist Western Australian boat owners in the responsible disposal of sewage from their vessel.
As part of the Sewage discharge guidelines that were implemented for State Waters in Western Australia, three sewage discharge zones were established and applied to all waterways based on the degree of risk to public health and the environment.
Zone 1 – No discharge
The no discharge zone includes:
- Marinas, yacht clubs, boat harbours and ports;
- Most inland waterways including the Swan & Canning rivers;
- Rottnest Island Reserve – all of the waters of all of the bays and designated sanctuary zones;
- Marine nature reserves and sanctuary zones within marine parks;
- Designated areas of marine parks, marine management areas or fish habitat protection areas;
- Within 500 metres of any aquaculture operation; and
- Within 100 metres of any recognised swimming area.
Zone 2 – No discharge except to vessels with approved* treatment systems
- The treated sewage discharge zone includes:
- Waters not included in Zone 1;
- Designated parts of estuaries, marine parks and fish habitat protection areas;
- Remaining parts of the Rottnest Island Reserve**; and
- Waters more than 20 metres from a stationary vessel or person in the water.
Zone 3 – Open
The open zone allows the discharge of untreated sewage and includes all State Waters except:
- Waters within Zone 1 and Zone 2;
- Waters within 500 metres of land; and
- Waters within 100 metres of a stationary vessel or person in the water.
Popular boating destinations
Requiring boat owners to “Take charge of their discharge” will significantly benefit people who enjoy spending time at popular boating destinations including:
- Rottnest Island – where the release of any sewage is prohibited in all of the waters of all of the bays and designated sanctuary zones, while waste from a Department of Health approved treatment unit can be discharged into other parts of the marine reserve**;
- Swan and Canning rivers – where any sewage discharge is totally prohibited; and
- Murray and Serpentine rivers – where any sewage discharge is totally prohibited.
- Peel and Harvey Inlet - where any sewage discharge is totally prohibited.
* The Department of Health approve sewage treatment devices that operate at an acceptable standard for discharge in this zone.** From the Summer of 2005 / 2006 the entire Rottnest Island Reserve was made Zone 1.
Waste Discharge Definitions
For the purpose of this strategy, the following definitions apply:
Anything used or capable of being used in navigation by water and includes aircushioned vehicles, yachts, boats or barges, used for recreational or commercial purposes.
Human body wastes, including wastes from any marine sanitation device.
Wastewater from showers, hand basins, sinks, dishwashers and washing machines.
Fuels, Oils and Lubricants
Any fuel oil or lubricant either directly discharged or mixed with bilge water.
Any waste material of solid composition including but not limited to plastic, metals, food scraps or paper.
Marine Sanitation Device (MSD)
Any toilet (head) and associated plumbing and holding tanks onboard a vessel to receive, treat, retain or discharge human body wastes.
For further information or comment on waste discharge from vessels in Rottnest Waters, please contact the Rottnest Island Authority on +61 8 9432 9300.