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New Hampshire Coastal Waters Granted “No Discharge” Designation

Release Date: 09/30/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Doug Gutro (, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1017
Jody Connor, NH DES, 603-271-1021

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2005; Release # dgjc050901

(Boston) – EPA has approved New Hampshire’s request to designate its coastal waters as a No Discharge Area. This designation applies to all of New Hampshire’s coastal waters, and means that discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited within three miles of the shore.

New Hampshire is the second state in New England to designate all of its coastal waters as No Discharge.

"By making all of New Hampshire’s coastline a no discharge area, the state and EPA are taking a big step forward for water quality improvements,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “This designation means cleaner beaches, cleaner shellfish beds and cleaner boating.”

Before making a No Discharge designation, EPA and the state ensure that there are enough pumpout facilities where boaters can get their holding tanks pumped out. New Hampshire's coastline has an estimated 4,593 boats, of which only 962 are large enough to have a “head” or toilet on board. The pumpout facilities include five that are fixed or shore based, and one that is a pumpout boat.

Boat sewage can lead to health problems for swimmers, closed shellfish beds and the overall degradation of marine habitats.

"Thirty years ago, NH became the first state in the nation to designate all inland lakes as No Discharge Zones. No discharge in inland lakes included both black and grey water which was essential for reducing phosphorus and bacteria loading to one of states most valued assets. We are long overdue for providing similar protection to our coastal waters through a No Discharge designation for the entire NH coastline. The NH coastline provides important economic and recreational resources and the No Discharge designation will help protect these vital waters for future generations to enjoy," noted NH Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Michael Nolin.

In 1975 all New Hampshire inland waters were approved as No Discharge Area waters. The state hopes to emulate the lake boating inspection program on their coastline. DES initiated the No Discharge Area designation for the New Hampshire coastline in the spring of 2004 to safeguard local marine resources.

Other areas in New England with No Discharge areas include: all of Rhode Island’s marine waters, including Block Island’s Great Salt Pond; in Massachusetts: Harwich, Waquoit Bay, Nantucket Harbor, Wellfleet, and Buzzards Bay (including Wareham and Westport); in Connecticut: Stonington Harbor, Groton/Mystic area; and Lake Champlain, Lake George and Lake Menphremagog in Vermont and New York.

See the No Discharge Areas in New England Web site for more information (

Related Information:

No Discharge Areas