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Groton/Mystic Area Requests Connecticut's Second "No Discharge Area" to Stem Boat Pollution

Release Date: 04/16/04
Contact Information: Contact: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1014 Contact: Matthew Fritz – CT DEP, 860-424-4100 Contact: Lisa Moody – Lt. Governor's Office, 860-524-7384

For Immediate Release: April 16, 2004; Release # 04-04-25

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the proposed designation of the Groton/Mystic area as a federal No Discharge area, where discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited within three miles of the shore. The proposed No Discharge zone is an area between Wamphassuc Point and Eastern Point, including portions of Fisher's Island Sound, Pine Island Bay, Baker Cove, Mumford Cove, West Cove, Mystic Harbor, Mystic River, Quiambog Cove, lower portions of the Poquonnock River and lower portions of Palmer Cove in Connecticut. This area is adjacent to the Stonnington area, which was designated last summer as a No Discharge area.

A petition requesting EPA approval of the No Discharge area was submitted by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The petition was published this week in the Federal Register and is subject to a 45-day public comment period.

To quality for a No Discharge 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 3,700 boats, of which only 1,300 are large enough to have a "head" or toilet on board. The pumpout facilities include nine that are fixed or shore based, two that are mobile carts, one dump station and one pumpout boat.

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

"The Groton/Mystic Area provides important economic and recreational resources and this designation will help ensure it stays that way," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "No Discharge areas are bringing tangible water quality improvements throughout New England and soon we can expect the same in the Groton/Mystic area, which will mean cleaner beaches, cleaner shellfish beds and cleaner boating."

"Millions of people either live along or visit the shores of Long Island Sound every year and we have placed a high premium on protecting this very special coastal resource," said DEP Commissioner Arthur J. Rocque Jr. "By extending the No Discharge area already in place in Stonington west to Groton, strengthens protections in place to improve water quality and the overall health of Long Island Sound."

DEP initiated the No Discharge Area designation for the Groton Mystic area in the spring of 2003 to safeguard local marine resources. DEP held an informational meeting in Groton where staff presented an overview of the proposed area for designation, outlined the designation process, described the beneficial environmental impacts of establishing the No Discharge Area and received input from the public.

Other areas in New England with No Discharge areas include: all of Rhode Island's marine waters, including Block Island's Great Salt Pond; Harwich, Waquoit Bay, Nantucket Harbor, Wellfleet, and Buzzards Bay (including Wareham and Westport), all in Massachusetts; Stonnington Harbor area in Connecticut; and Lake Champlain, Lake George, and Lake Menphremagog in Vermont and New York. Information on No Discharge Areas may be found at the EPA's website at

The 45-day comment period runs from April 16 - June 1, 2004

Related Information:
Long Island Sound
Study Web Site

No Discharge Areas