Tips for the summer

Most of the waterways in Texas are either used for drinking water or for contact recreational purposes such as swimming. There are two main ways that boat users can influence the water quality of Texas’ water bodies.

  1. Boat Sewage Discharge
  2. Oil spills and leaks



Do look around the waterline for leaks and spills before leaving the dock.

Do check the bilge for oil leaks before draining. If you discover a leak, have it repaired as soon as possible.

Do use restrooms on shore.

Do properly dispose of boat sewage by using a pump-out station.

Do pump out and rinse holding tanks regularly and properly maintain your boat toilet.

Do establish a regular maintenance schedule for your MSD based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.


Don’t discharge untreated sewage anywhere in Texas waterways-it is ILLEGAL.

Don’t go boating without a clean water certificate (for owners of boats with marine sanitation devices)-it is required under Texas law.

Don’t ignore oil spills or leaks, get them repaired right away.


To learn how to use a pump-out station correctly, please view the video below.



Boat sewage can introduce disease-causing microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, and protozoans) into the water. These microorganisms are vectors for diseases such as hepatitis A, gastroenteritis, giardia, cryptosporidium, typhoid and cholera.warning-sign-boating

Boat sewage contains nutrients, such as nitrogen. These nutrients can be used by aquatic plants and algae to grow and spread in the form of blooms.

Along the coast, shellfish beds can be affected by bacteria that enter the water from boat sewage. The bacteria also consumes oxygen which can deplete oxygen levels needed by aquatic organisms.

Affects the economy. When contaminant levels (bacteria, nutrients, etc.) are high, many swimming and fishing areas have to be closed or restricted.

Avoid fines by following the law and not dumping untreated sewage.


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