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Boothbay Harbor Seeks “No Discharge” Designation to Stem Boat Pollution

Release Date: 01/07/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Jan. 7, 2009) – EPA is considering a proposal from the State of Maine to designate the coastal waters of Boothbay Harbor as a “No Discharge Area.” If approved, discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited within the town boundaries.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP) has petitioned EPA to approve the No Discharge designation. EPA has in turn published the request in the Federal Register and will accept public comments on the proposal for 30 days, ending on Feb. 4.

Boothbay Harbor, one of the top tourist locations in the state, is the third area in Maine to seek a “no discharge” designation for coastal waters.

“Boothbay Harbor is a jewel in the crown of classic New England coastal destinations. By taking this important step towards improving coastal water quality, the community is working to protect a vital economic engine,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

Before EPA will endorse a No Discharge Area designation for any area, the applicant must demonstrate that there are enough “pumpout” facilities where boaters can get their sewage holding tanks pumped out. This particular area has an estimated 893 boats, of which 458 are large enough to have a head or toilet on board. There are a total of six pumpout facilities, and five marinas, in the proposed area.

The proposed no discharge area is important ecologically as well. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ranks 252 acres of identified shellfish habitat in the proposed protected area as “High Value Wildlife Habitat.”

Many other areas in New England already have designated their coastal waters as No Discharge areas these include:
- All state marine waters of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire;
- In Massachusetts: Harwich, Waquoit Bay, Nantucket Harbor, Wellfleet, Barnstable, and Buzzards Bay (including Wareham and Westport), Plymouth/ Duxbury/ Kingston area, Marshfield/ Scituate/ Cohasset, Salem Sound, Boston Harbor, and Cape Cod Bay;
- In Maine, Casco Bay;
- Lake Champlain in Vermont and New York, and Lake Memphremagog in Vermont and Quebec.

More information:

No Discharge Areas in New England (

How to comment on proposal (

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