Sewage should be treated on-site whenever possible, but where sewage may enter the river without adequate treatment, and no treatment technologies are feasible, a properly maintained holding tank is a last alternative for sewage disposal.
Holding tanks store untreated sewage (or sometimes greywater only) to be pumped out by a licensed contractor for treatment and disposal off-site. Holding tanks are not permitted in new construction or for long-term use in year-round residences, according to Appendix 75-A of the New York State Codes, Rules and Regulations.
Advantages: Inexpensive, easy to install.
Disadvantages: Costs of transporting and disposing of stored waste, risks associated with handling untreated sewage, and potential for improper use. Maintenance requires local pump out service, which may be limited in the 1000 Islands region, and is expensive for owners of island property.
Cost: Installation $1,500-2,500 (1995 cost); pump outs range from $200-500.
Holding Tank Guidelines:
- Tank must be of sound construction, with non-corrodible material
- Water conservation devices and low flush toilets will reduce the frequency of pump outs
- Composting or incinerating toilets eliminate sewage to the tank, leaving only greywater
- Limiting use of garbage disposals, dishwashers, and washing machines will reduce frequency of pump outs and minimize pump out expense.