Passenger car liquid waste disposal

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Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby CLamb » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:05 am

For many years passenger equipment in the USA just dumped liquid and human waste onto the tracks. It seemed to work quite well. Then Congress decided it wasn't a good idea and mandated holding tanks. In my experience these holding tanks are a poorer solution for the people riding the cars. How is this disposal handled in other countries?
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:40 am

holding tanks, in all civilized countries.
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby Passenger » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:09 am

Just to clarify why this is a good idea, just in case it isn't obvious.

A matter of sanitation and not spreading disease far and wide.

Darn that Congress. :P
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby Watchman318 » Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:50 pm

As an old friend of mine (and frequent Amtrak rider) used to say, "Don't eat blue snow along the Northeast Corridor." :P

Emptying the holding tanks is just another part of cleaning/restocking passenger cars.
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby bdawe » Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:21 pm

Indian Railways, who are one of the few big systems that still use direct discharge, find that it causes considerable corrosion to track and infrastructure, in addition to befouling train station tracks, and are rapidly phasing this system out.
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby Watchman318 » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:55 pm

Back in the day, direct discharge helped provide good song lyrics for Steve Goodman. ("City of New Orleans") :wink:
(Maybe some lyrics for a former U.S. Supreme Court justice, too. [Look up "Humoresque" on Wikipedia.])
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby Passenger » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:39 am

Point of historical order.

Was it in fact an act of congress, or something originally promulgated by a regulatory agency (authorized to do so by congress)?

Or was it (this is possible), the "market" perhaps helped along by regulations at some point. That is to say railroads doing it right for the purpose of pleasing their customers (or property owners along the right of way).

I remember the old days, and I don't recall any mad rush to comply with an irksome regulation. :wink:
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:48 pm

There's a thread on this from a few years ago, but I searched on Waste Disposal and couldn't find it. What brought things to a head, so to speak, was that a Florida congressman was fishing under a railroad bridge, and imagine his surprise ...
He raised hell in the House, and Congress either passed a law or pressured the FRA to put in a regulation, but I'm pretty sure it's a law rather than an FRA regulation.
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby ex Budd man » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:03 am

When I started on Septa in 1985 the former Reading MUs still had hoppers which dumped directly onto the A end truck. Needless to say working on that end of the car was pretty crappy (pun intended)! The SL-II & III cars whch had beed equipped with retention tanks had them removed and the area turned into storage for the crew's gear, destination signs, and odds and ends.
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:28 pm

The PRR similarly stenciled "Equipment Locker" on the doors and kept them locked; after that it was the passengers' responsibility to have their own individual retention system.
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby CLamb » Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:51 pm

Passenger wrote:Just to clarify why this is a good idea, just in case it isn't obvious.

A matter of sanitation and not spreading disease far and wide.


But did it spread disease? Sunlight and air are great at killing bacteria. I would think the people most affected would be the MoW crews. Did they every complain? If it didn't cause a problem during the golden era of passenger travel why would it cause a problem in the Amtrak era?
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby bdawe » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:06 pm

Just because they did it back in the day doesn't mean it didn't cause problems, merely that those problems were felt to be acceptable in relation to the cost of fixing them. They also blasted a lot of coal soot into the air too.
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby Passenger » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:26 am

I am vaguely recalling that some trains had holding tanks for a while before they all did.

Metroliner perhaps?
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:14 pm

bdawe wrote:Just because they did it back in the day doesn't mean it didn't cause problems, merely that those problems were felt to be acceptable in relation to the cost of fixing them. They also blasted a lot of coal soot into the air too.

True, but they didn't convert to diesel because of air pollution. When it was shown that diesels were cheaper to operate, steam disappeared--cleaner air was a byproduct.
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Re: Passenger car liquid waste disposal

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:17 pm

Passenger wrote:I am vaguely recalling that some trains had holding tanks for a while before they all did.

Metroliner perhaps?

Metroliners certainly had some kind of chemical toilets right from the beginning (1968); I don't remember now when the law was passed covering all equipment.
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