EPA & NYS Move to Ban Boat Sewage in Long Island Sound

boatThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has tentatively determined that there are adequate facilities for boats in Long Island Sound to pump out their sewage and that a proposal by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) to establish a “No Discharge Zone” for the waters of the New York State Long Island Sound can go forward. A no-discharge zone means that boats are completely banned from discharging sewage into the water. Boaters must instead dispose of their sewage at specially designated pump-out stations.  This action is part of a joint EPA/New York State strategy to eliminate the discharge of sewage from boats into the state’s waterways.  Discharges of sewage from boats can contain harmful levels of pathogens and chemicals such as formaldehyde, phenols, and chlorine, which have a negative impact on water quality, pose a risk to people’s health, and impair marine life. EPA is taking public comment on its proposed approval until May 11, 2011.

New York State has proposed to establish a No-Discharge Zone for the Long Island Sound that encompasses approximately 760 square miles, and includes the open waters, harbors, bays and navigable tributaries of the Sound and a portion of the East River, from the Hell Gate Bridge in the west to the northern bounds of Block Island Sound in the east.  The waters of Mamaroneck Harbor, Huntington-Northport Bay Complex, Port Jefferson Complex, Hempstead Harbor and Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Complex have been previously designated as No Discharge Zones.  Upon a final affirmative determination from EPA, pumping out boat sewage into any New York waters within Long Island Sound will be banned.

For more information about no discharge zones and to view a copy of EPA’s proposed approval of the Long Island Sound no discharge zone, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/water/ndz/index.html.

To comment on the proposed EPA approval, email, fax or mail comments to Moses Chang at [email protected], (212) 637-3867. Mailing address: Moses Chang, U.S. EPA Region 2, 290 Broadway, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10007-1866.