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Maine Requests “No Discharge Area” for Casco Bay Waters

Release Date: 02/24/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - Feb. 24, 2006) – EPA is currently evaluating a request from the State of Maine to designate the waters of Casco Bay as a “No Discharge Area,” where discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited within three miles of the shore.

Maine has proposed that all of Casco Bay be given this designation. To qualify for a No Discharge designation, the applicant must show there are enough pumpout facilities where boaters can get their holding tanks pumped out.

"The Casco Bay area provides important economic and recreational resources for Mainers," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "Establishing ‘No Discharge Areas’ can help improve water quality throughout New England's coastal areas. Uncontrolled boat sewage can lead to health problems for swimmers, closed shellfish beds and the overall degradation of marine habitats.”

The Maine request calculates that the Casco Bay waters support nearly 5,000 boats, of which approximately 80 percent may have a “head” or toilet on board. The request also details that there are nineteen fixed or shore-based pumpout facilities, and one that is a pumpout boat.

A petition requesting EPA approval was submitted by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). EPA has published the petition in the Federal Register and is accepting public comments on the request for 60 days.

Maine DEP initiated the “No Discharge Area” designation for Casco Bay in the spring of 2004 to safeguard local marine resources. An informational meeting was held in Portland, and Brunswick where staff presented an overview of the proposed area for designation, outlined the designation process, described the beneficial environmental impacts of establishing the “No Discharge Area”, received input and answered questions from the public.

For more information on Maine's proposal:

For more information on No Discharge Areas in New England:

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