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Three Coastal Maine Towns Stem Boat Pollution with No Discharge Area Designation - EPA also provides $264K for beach water quality monitoring in Maine

Release Date: 08/19/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Aug. 19, 2009) - The coastal waters of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, and Wells, Maine will be protected as a “No Discharge Area,” where discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited. EPA also announced a grant of $264,567 to help support the Maine Healthy Beaches Program’s continued efforts to monitor water quality conditions at Maine beaches, ensuring that people enjoying the beach are also enjoying healthy water conditions.

Recently, EPA approved a petition by the Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection (ME DEP) requesting the designation of the No Discharge Area. Following consideration of the request, and a 30-day public review and comment period, EPA approved the request to protect these coastal waters from boat sewage. This is another milestone in EPA’s goal to designate the majority of New England coastal waters as No Discharge

EPA’s grant of $264,567 will assist the Maine Healthy Beaches program, started in 2001. The program has been very successful; when it began, only seven beaches were regularly monitored for water quality, in contrast to today when 50 Maine beaches are monitored. Further, there were fewer beach postings or closure days in 2008 (174) than in 2007 (194), an impressive improvement considering that two additional beaches were added to the monitoring program in 2008.

“Protecting coastal waters and environments from elevated levels of bacteria and pathogens is a proven way to protect our beautiful coastal areas for all to enjoy and prosper,” said Stephen Perkins, acting deputy regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “With both actions we are taking today – to halt boat sewage in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells, and continuing our commitment to water quality monitoring in Maine coastal areas – we can help protect the health of swimmers, the purity of shellfish beds and the overall marine environment.”

“Maine’s coastal waters are a precious natural resource as well as an integral driver for our economy - our beaches attract millions of tourists every year, our coastal waterways are prime boating areas enjoyed by locals and visitors, and the fisheries that abound in the waters off our shore provide a livelihood for thousands of Maine fisherman and their families,“ said Maine DEP Commissioner David Littell. “The new no discharge designation, combined with the EPA grant to monitor water quality will help us preserve and improve Maine’s coastal waters.”

To qualify for a No Discharge Area designation, the applicant must show there are enough pumpout facilities where boaters can get their holding tanks pumped out. This particular area has an estimated 537 boats, of which only 195 are large enough to have a "head" or toilet on board. There are a total of five pumpout facilities in the proposed area.

Other coastal waters designated in New England designated as No Discharge Areas include:

- All state marine waters of
Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire;
In Maine: Boothbay Harbor and Casco Bay, marine waters of Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Cranberry Isles and portions of Tremont;
- Camden, Rockport, Rockland and portions of Owls Head in Maine have petitioned EPA for designation;
In Massachusetts: Harwich, Waquoit Bay, Nantucket Harbor, Wellfleet, Barnstable, and Buzzards Bay (including Wareham and Westport), Plymouth/Duxbury/Kingston, Scituate/Marshfield/Cohasset, Salem Sound, Boston Harbor, Cape Cod Bay and Revere/Saugus/Lynn/Nahant/Swampscott;

More information:

- No Discharge Areas in New England (

- Beach protection in New England (

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