Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


EPA Receives Connecticut's First "No Discharge" Request Aimed at Boat Pollution

Release Date: 01/29/2003
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it is considering approval of Connecticut's first No Discharge Area where discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited. The proposed No Discharge Area is on the eastern end of Connecticut near the Rhode Island border and specifically includes coastal waters of the Pawcatuck River, Fisher Island Sound, Little Narragansett Bay and Stonington Harbor.

    A petition requesting the EPA designation was submitted by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The petition, which is subject to a 45-day public comment period, was published this week in the Federal Register.

    To qualify for a No Discharge designation, the applicant must show there are a sufficient number of pumpout facilities where boaters can get their holding tanks pumped out. In this particular area, which has 1,300 boats, pumpout facilities are located at Dodson's Boatyard in Stonington Harbor and Norwest Marina in the Pawcatuck River. A pumpout boat is also docked at the Westerly Yacht Club in Rhode Island.

    Boat sewage can lead to health problems for swimmers, closed shellfish beds and the overall degradation of marine habitats.

    "Sewage from boats can be a significant source of pollution, especially in shallow harbors with a high density of boats," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "Creating a No Discharge zone in Stonington Harbor and the surrounding area will help substantially in cleaning the water of one of Connecticut's most precious resources."

    DEP initiated the No Discharge Area designation for Stonington Harbor last spring in order to place safeguards on local marine resources. DEP held several informational meetings in Stonington 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 and received input from the public on the proposal.

    The designation of Stonington Harbor and other Connecticut coves, harbors and embayments along Long Island Sound as No Discharge Areas is part of DEP's Long Island Sound Study Plan to reduce inputs of manmade pathogens and nutrients into the state's waterway.

    "The designation of eastern Long Island Sound as a No Discharge Area would complement other Connecticut initiatives already underway to improve the health and habitat of Long Island Sound," said DEP Commissioner Arthur J. Rocque Jr. "Connecticut continues to aggressively pursue every approach possible to aid in the restoration and recovery of Long Island Sound, whether it be upgrading sewage treatment plants or funding local habitat enhancement projects. The creation of No Discharge Areas in the Sound adds another tool to Connecticut's comprehensive strategy aimed at improving the overall quality of this special resource."

    Other areas in New England with No Discharge areas include: all of Rhode Island's marine waters, including Block Island's Great Salt Pond; Harwich, Waquoit Bay, Nantucket Harbor, Wellfleet, and Buzzards Bay (including Wareham and Westport), all in Massachusetts; and Lake Champlain, Lake George, and Lake Menphremagog in Vermont and New York. Information on No Discharge Areas may be found at the EPA's website at

    The 45-day comment period runs from January 29, 2003 to March 17, 2003 at 5 pm. Information requests or comments may be sent to Ann Rodney, U.S. EPA New England Region, Office of Ecosystem Protection, Water Quality Unit (CWQ), 1 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02114-2023. (617) 918-1538, or E-Mail: