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Maine’s First “No Discharge” Designation Made for Casco Bay

Release Date: 07/20/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Portland, Maine – July 21, 2006) – Some of Maine’s most heavily used recreational coastal waters will soon be cleaner and healthier, following today’s announcement that Casco Bay is designated a “No Discharge Area,” the first of its kind in the state where releases of treated and untreated boat sewage will be prohibited.

Governor John Baldacci and Rep. Tom Allen joined with EPA and state environmental officials to make the milestone announcement at a Portland pier where EPA’s state of the art ocean-going research vessel “The Bold” was docked. The Bold is making its first visit to Maine’s waters.

“This is a great day for ensuring cleaner and healthier coastal waters in Casco Bay,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "I applaud this step by Maine’s leaders to take an important step forward in making New England’s coastal waters better protected. It’s worth noting that EPA’s new ocean research vessel, The Bold, is designed to be fully compliant with this health-protective designation.”

The area included in the no discharge designation includes all contiguous waters north and east of Cape Elizabeth Light in Cape Elizabeth, to a point at Bald Point in Phippsburg. The area also includes the navigable reaches of the Fore River, Presumpscot River, Royal River, Cousins River, Harraseeket River, and the New Meadows River.

"I am proud to be the Governor who requested the first No Discharge Zone in Maine. Discharges of sewage from vessels will no longer be allowed in Casco Bay. This designation will be followed by others along our coast in the near future," stated Governor John Baldacci.

To qualify for a No Discharge designation, the applicant must show there are adequate pumpout facilities where boaters can get their holding tanks pumped out. Casco Bay has an estimated 4896 boats, of which approximately 3897 may have a “head” or toilet on board, certified by the Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection. Boat sewage can lead to health problems for swimmers, closed shellfish beds and the overall degradation of marine habitats.

Along with this announcement about expanding environmental protections in Maine, the City of Portland today hosted EPA’s only Ocean Survey Vessel "The Bold” for public tours of the ship and its facilities. Children, parents, students and tourists had a chance to speak with chief scientists stationed on the ship and to learn about important research being conducted in U.S. ocean waters.

The Bold is a converted U.S. Navy 224-foot ocean surveillance ship that is specifically designed to help the EPA conduct water sampling and perform data analysis. One of the Bold's first missions was to perform coastal monitoring after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf of Mexico.

The vessel is currently staffed by a team of EPA scientists who are conducting surveys in New England waters such as collecting surf clams and ocean quahogs to test for Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) associated with red tide.

The ship is used to monitor and assess the impacts of pollution and the health of our coastal and ocean waters and is outfitted with state-of-the art equipment used to collect samples including water and sediments and has onboard laboratories.

The public is invited to take advantage of this unique opportunity to take a glimpse into the world of ocean monitoring - and environmental sampling and analysis.

More information on the OSV Bold: (

More information on No Discharge Zones in New England (

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