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Parts of Mass. North Shore Seek “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 Massachusetts to designate the coastal waters of Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Nahant and Swampscott as “No Discharge Areas.” If approved, discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited within the town boundaries.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts 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.

If approved, the coastal waters of the five North Shore communities would join numerous other Mass. and New England coastal waters to take steps to protect the environment from treated and untreated boat sewage.

“By taking this important step towards improving coastal water quality, these communities are working to protect our environment as well as their economic well-being,” 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 1,222 boats, of which 660 are large enough to have a head or toilet on board. Within the proposed area there are two pumpout facilities which are connected to municipal sewage systems.

The proposed no discharge area contains the ecologically-important Rumney Marsh – a 2,274 acres of salt marsh – designated by the state as an "Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

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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