Contact Us


All News Releases By Date



Release Date: 07/01/1998
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the Town of Harwich has filed an application for approval of a "No Discharge Area" where sewage waste discharges from boats would be prohibited.

The proposal, published last Friday in the Federal Register, is subject to a 30-day public comment period. The comment period ends at 5 p.m. on July 27.

The proposed no-discharge boundaries include the major harbors and contiguous beaches between Allen, Wychmere and Saquatucket harbors. The boundary extends out about 400 feet from the shoreline. The No-Discharge Area does not include Pleasant Bay.

If the petition is approved, Harwich would be the seventh community in Massachusetts to designate a No-Discharge Area. No-Discharge Areas already exist in Waquiot Bay, Wareham, Nantucket, Westport, Wellfleet and Chatham.

"I commend the town of Harwich - in particular, harbormaster Tom Leach - for this commitment to improve the water quality and natural resources in their community," said John P. DeVillars, regional administrator of the EPA's New England Office. "All over Cape Cod and New England, No-Discharge Areas are producing positive results, improving water quality and restoring shellfish beds."

"The Harwich Shellfish & Marine Water Quality Committee and myself are very excited to have our application reviewed," added Harbormaster Leach, who helped initiate the application. "A No-Discharge Area designation may mean the opening of shellfish beds, which is good for both commercial and recreational fishermen."

The four harbors of Herring River, Allens Harbor, Wychmere Harbor and Saquatucket are home to roughly 750 boats, of which about half are under 25 feet and have no Marine Sanitation Devise (MSD or boat toilet). Two sewage pumpout facilities service the town - a stationary pumpout facility at the Saquatucket Municipal Marina and a pumpout boat that services boats on request.

Before it can approve a No-Discharge designation, EPA must make sure there are adequate and reasonably available pumpouts for the boating community.

Information requests or comments should be sent to Ann Rodney, U.S. EPA-New England Region, Office of Ecosystems Protection, Water Quality Unit (CWQ), JFK Federal Building, Boston, MA 02203. The phone number is 617-565-4885 and the E-Mail Address is: RODNEY.ANN@EPAMAIL.EPA.GOV