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EPA OK’s New York State Ban On Sewage Discharge in Peconic Estuary

Release Date: 06/13/2002
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(#02057) NEW YORK -- In a move that will improve coastal water quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a New York State plan to ban the discharge of sewage from boats in the Peconic Estuary of Suffolk County. The no-discharge zone will include the open waters, harbors, and creeks west of a line extending from Orient to Montauk Points on the end of Long Island.

The Peconic Estuary includes significant shell fisheries, fish spawning, nursery, and feeding areas, including several state-designated coastal fish and wildlife habitats. Approximately 7,000 to 11,000 or more boats are in the area on an average summer weekend.

“This designation will protect and enhance the vital natural, economic, and recreational resources of this critical estuary,” said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator.

EPA received a petition from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on July 5, 2001, requesting a determination that adequate vessel pump-out facilities are available within the area.

“Under Governor George Pataki’s leadership, New York State is focusing resources on protecting and restoring our state’s water bodies, from the Great Lakes and the Hudson River to Long Island Sound,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Erin M. Crotty said. “EPA’s approval of New York’s petition for a no-discharge zone in the Peconic Estuary is another positive step in our efforts to prevent pollution and protect the future water quality of the magnificent Peconic Bay.”

This final determination, which follows a 30-day public comment period, means that effective immediately, the Peconic Estuary becomes a no-discharge zone under New York State Navigation Law. Treated and untreated discharges from marine toilets are prohibited and sanitation devices on board vessels within the zone must be secured to prevent discharges.