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Designation of South Shore “No Discharge Area” Celebrated in Southeast Mass.

Release Date: 08/23/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – August 23, 2006) – A group of federal, state and local officials celebrated the designation of Plymouth, Duxbury, and Kingston Bays and adjacent coastal Massachusetts waters as “No Discharge Areas” (NDA) – meaning that the discharge of all boat sewage is prohibited in the designated coastal waters.

The total area of the NDA is 63 square miles and will be the second largest in the Commonwealth. Declaring these coastal waters an NDA is another example of the region's commitment to improve wastewater management and enhance protection of coastal resources.

Discharged boat sewage can contain pathogens, nutrients, and chemical products, which can negatively affect aquatic life or degrade water quality.

“This is a great day for ensuring cleaner and healthier coastal waters in Massachusetts,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “Not only will this new No Discharge Area protect Massachusetts' coastline from untreated waste from marine activities, it will also ensure that future generations of whale watchers and fishermen will be able to continue practicing our maritime traditions.”

By prohibiting boat sewage discharge, NDAs can reduce the risk of human illness, thus making it safer to swim, boat, fish, and eat shellfish from protected waters. Also, harmful algae growth that occurs as a result of the high level of nutrients in sewage discharge can be prevented. Reduction of these harmful algae growths allows for higher water quality and increases habitat value.

“This is great example of town, state and federal agencies working together to ensure further protection of our coast,” said Susan Snow-Cotter, Director of the Mass. Executive Office of Environmental Affairs’ Coastal Zone Management office. “I am pleased with this accomplishment and I look forward to expanding these efforts to other areas in the future.”

Under the Clean Water Act, a body of water can become an NDA if a community believes that the waters are ecologically and recreationally important enough to deserve further protection than that already provided by current Federal and State laws. Currently Plymouth Bay supports a variety of uses including aquaculture, commercial and recreational shellfishing, tourism, boating, sailing, kayaking, and numerous bathing beaches. The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management works closely with communities and EPA to protect coastal resources with NDAs.

The new Massachusetts designation joins a growing rank of New England coastal areas that are now protected from sewage discharges by boats because of No Discharge Area designations.

More information: No Discharge Areas in Massachusetts (

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