No Discharge Zones
- No-Discharge Zones for Vessel Sewage
- No-Discharge Zone Evaluation
- Marine Sanitation Devices
- Frequent Questions
- No Discharge Zones How They Work
- Protecting Our Waterways
- Using Your Head to Help Protect Our Aquatic Resources
- GAO Report - Program Enhancements Would Better Ensure Adequacy of Boat Pumpout Facilities in No-Discharge Zones (PDF) (51 pp, 2.6MB, About PDF)
A No Discharge Zone is an area of a waterbody or an entire waterbody into which the discharge of sewage (whether treated or untreated) from all vessels is completely prohibited. There are five No Discharge Zones in EPA's mid-Atlantic Region, two in Maryland (View Federal Register Notice) and three in Virginia (View Federal Register Notice). These zones are designed to give states an additional tool to address water quality issues associated with sewage contamination.
Vessel sewage discharge is regulated under Section 312 of the Clean Water Act. States can have all or portions of their waters designated as a no discharge zone for vessel sewage to:
- protect aquatic habitats where adequate and reasonably available pumpout or dump station facilities are available for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage;
- protect special aquatic habitats or species [the state does not have to show that there are reasonably available pump-out or dump stations]; and
- safeguard human health by protecting drinking water intake zones [the state does not have to show that there are reasonably available pump-out or dump stations].
Michael Hoffmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)
US EPA Region 3 (3WP10)
1650 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
- Smith Mountain Lake, VA
- Lynnhaven River, VA
- Deltaville, VA
- Herring Bay, MD
- Northern Coastal Bays, MD
Smith Mountain Lake — an inland reservoir located in the Piedmont physiographic province of west central Virginia.
The Smith Mountain Lake No Discharge Zone includes Smith Mountain Lake, from Smith Mountain Dam upstream to the 795.0 foot contour line (normal pool elevation) in all tributaries, including waters to above the confluence with Back Creek in the Roanoke River arm, and to the Brooks Mill Bridge (Route 834) on the Blackwater River arm. The lake is approximately 20,000 acres in area, forms 500 miles of shoreline, and is bordered by the counties of Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania. The lake is located in west central Virginia and fed by two main tributaries, the Roanoke River and the Blackwater River, as well as other minor tributaries. It was formed in 1965 after the completion of the Smith Mountain Hydroelectric Dam and reached full pond in 1966.
Smith Mountain Lake is an exceptional Virginia state resource with uses that now go much beyond hydroelectric power generation. State water quality standards for this segment require that all uses be met and also designate the lake as a public water supply. The lake, however, is best known for its tourism and recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, swimming and shoreside activities. The area surrounding the lake contains public access areas, beaches, marinas and boat launching facilities, campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, a State park and the site of plans for another lakefront park. The lake is well known for its trophy-size striped bass and has for several decades been considered one of the best striped bass fishing locations in the Southeast. Large and smallmouth bass are plentiful, and walleye, rock bass, white bass, yellow perch, flathead catfish, crappie and bluegills are abundant as well. Originally popular for second homes, the lake now has an estimated 5,500 full-time residents living along the water. Within a few miles of the shore the estimated population is nearly 14,000, projected to reach 22,000 by 2015. Development along the shoreline includes new single-family subdivisions, condominiums, weekend retreats, a retirement community, motels and attractions for seasonal visitors.
Lynnhaven River — located in southeastern Virginia.
The Lynnhaven River Watershed No Discharge Zone is within an area of land and water of approximately 64 square miles with nearly 150 miles of shoreline and is located in the northern part of the city of Virginia Beach, Virginia. It is defined as all contiguous waters south of the Lesner Bridge at Lynnhaven Inlet [36°54'27.90"N/ 76°05'30.90"W (Latitude/Longitude)] and north of the watershed break point defined as the intersection of West Neck Creek at Dam Neck Road [36°47'17.60"N/ 76°04'14.62"W (Latitude/Longitude)].
It flows to the Chesapeake Bay through the Lynnhaven Inlet, just east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The Lynnhaven River watershed, including the Eastern Branch, the Western Branch, and Broad Bay/Linkhorn Bay. The upstream portions of the Lynnhaven River system flow either north to the Chesapeake Bay or south to the North Carolina sounds depending on wind and tidal patterns.
Many people enjoy the Lynnhaven River for a variety of activities, including boating, fishing, crabbing, water skiing, and swimming. The shoreline surrounding the Lynnhaven River includes 4,478 private waterfront homes, public access areas, marinas, boat launch facilities, waterside restaurants, and a State park. Large and small boats, personal watercraft, canoes, kayaks, water skiers, and swimmers enjoy the river for its recreational benefits. There are several waterfront access areas within First Landing State Park for swimming during summer months. The Lynnhaven River was also once a prime oyster harvesting area known throughout the world for the famous "Lynnhaven Oyster". Oyster habitat restoration projects are presently being implemented in the Lynnhaven River. Lynnhaven River 2007, an advocacy group, in partnership with the city of Virginia Beach, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Deltaville — includes Broad Creek, Jackson Creek and Fishing Bay Watersheds, Middlesex County, Virginia
The Deltaville, VA No Discharge Zone (NDZ) is located in the easternmost part of Middlesex County (i.e., Deltaville), Virginia, and contains the Broad Creek, Jackson Creek and Fishing Bay Watersheds. The Broad Creek discharges north to the Rappahannock River near its confluence to the Chesapeake Bay. Jackson Creek discharges east into the mouth of the Piankatank River, and Fishing Bay discharges directly south to the Piankatank River, which discharges to the east to the Chesapeake Bay. These watersheds encompass an area of land and water of approximately 3.4 square miles with nearly 18 miles of shoreline. All these water bodies are oligohaline and subject to the action of tides.
The Broad Creek Watershed portion of the NDZ is defined as all contiguous waters south of the line formed between the points formed by Latitude 37°33'46.3' N and Longitude 76°18'45.9' W and north to Latitude 37°33'47.4' N and Longitude 76°19'24.7' W. The Jackson Creek Watershed portion of the NDZ is defined as all contiguous waters west of the line formed between the points formed by Latitude 37°32'40' N and Longitude 76°19'40.6' W at Stove Point Neck and Latitude 37°32'46.8' N and Longitude 76°19'15.6' W at the western point of the entrance to the eastern prong of Jackson Creek. The Fishing Bay portion of the NDZ is defined as all contiguous waters north of the line formed between the points formed by Latitude 37°32'01.9' N and Longitude 76°21'43.5' W at the southernmost tip of Bland Point and Latitude 37°31'29.4' N and Longitude 76°19'53.6' W at the southernmost tip of Stove Point. This area includes all of Fishing Bay, and encompasses Moore Creek and Porpoise Cove.
The full time resident population of 1,716 people (increasing to several thousand during the summer months) enjoys the Broad Creek, Jackson Creek and Fishing Bay Watersheds for a variety of activities, including boating, fishing, crabbing, water skiing, swimming, and commercial shellfish cultivation and harvesting. The shoreline surrounding these three watersheds includes 1,583 housing units (824 year round), public access areas, thirty two (32) marinas, boat launch facilities, and waterside restaurants. Both recreational and commercial large and small boats, personal watercraft, canoes, kayaks, water skiers, and swimmers enjoy these rivers for their recreational benefits. Broad Creek, Jackson Creek and Fishing Bay host threatened, endangered and rare species of plants and animals, including more than forty (40) water dependent species. The waters of both the Rappahannock and Piankatank Rivers and their tributaries are historically known to accommodate migrating populations of more than ten (10) anadromous fish species. Marine mammals, sea turtles, and waterfowl are also dependent on the environmental quality of these three watersheds and surrounding areas.
The waters of the Broad and Jackson Creeks have been under varying levels of shellfish condemnation for more than twenty (20) years. The 2006 Virginia Water Quality Assessment listed Broad, Jackson and Moore Creeks, Fishing Bay and Porpoise Cove as requiring total maximum daily loads determinations (TMDLs) for dissolved oxygen, aquatic plants and bacteriological impairments from fecal coliform and enterococci bacteria. In 2005, EPA Region III and the Virginia State Water Control Board (SWCB) approved a TMDL for the shellfish harvest use impairments on Broad and Jackson Creeks and the lower Piankatank River.
Herring Bay — Anne Arundel County, Maryland
The Herring Bay No Discharge Zone (NDZ) is a 3,145-acre area of water located along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in southern Anne Arundel County. The area includes Rockhold, Tracy, and Parker creeks on the north and Rose Haven Harbor on the south. The NDZ includes tidal waters west of the following:
Beginning on Holland Point at or near 38°43'34.9"N/ 76°31'37.3"W (Latitude/Longitude), then running in a northerly direction to Crab Pile A at or near 38°46'33.0"N/ 76°32'10.1"W (Latitude/Longitude), then running to a point on the north shore of Parkers Creek at or near 38°46'39.1"N/ 76°32'10.8"W (Latitude/Longitude).
The Herring Bay watershed is approximately 25 square miles. Although traditionally a farming area, several residential communities are located within the watershed including some that are located along the shoreline. The town of Deale sits adjacent to Rockhold Creek. Herring Bay is also a very popular recreational boating area and is home to 16 marinas containing 2,090 slips.
There are four bathing beaches on Herring Bay: Mason’s Beach, Town Point, Owings Cliffs, and Rose Haven. Other beaches are specifically designated as terrapin and horseshoe crab nesting and spawning areas. Herring Bay is also a general aquatic nursery and feeding area providing habitat for a rich mixture of blue crabs, Atlantic croaker (hardhead), spot, bluefish, gray sea trout (weakfish), Atlantic menhaden, bay anchovy, striped bass, summer flounder, and white perch. Herring Bay also contains natural oyster bars as well as bottom habitat for soft clams. Herring Bay is bounded by productive crab potting areas in the Chesapeake Bay. Wildlife includes great blue heron, American black duck, canvasback duck, and scaup, as well as nesting areas for osprey and bald eagle. Finally, the area along the shoreline contains submerged aquatic vegetation.
Northern Coastal Bays — including Ocean City Inlet, Ocean City commercial fish harbor (Swordfish Basin), Isle of Wight Bay, St. Martins River and Assawoman Bay, Worcester County, Maryland
The Northern Coastal Bays No Discharge Zone is 12,780 acres of water that include all tidal waters north of the Ocean City Inlet as defined by points - 38°19'23.83"N/ 75°5'14.36"W to 38°19' 35.77"N/ 75°06'27.68"W (Latitude/Longitude) - to the Delaware State line. This area encompasses the Ocean City Inlet, Ocean City commercial fish harbor (Swordfish Basin), Isle of Wight Bay, St. Martins River and Assawoman Bay.
These bodies of water are characterized by extreme high and low tides along with poor flushing ability due to the narrow Ocean City Inlet. The land surrounding the Northern Coastal Bays is primarily agriculture, forested or marsh (76% and 85% respectively) but also includes the largest percentage of developed land surrounding all five coastal bays (24% and 15% respectively). There are currently 44,000 year-round residents living in Worcester County; 25% of these residents live in the community of Ocean Pines, along the Isle of Wight Bay. Currently, Worcester County is the second fastest growing county in the state.
The Maryland Coastal Bays offer a rich and diverse population of natural resources. Of the numerous species living in the Coastal Bays 19 animals and more than 75 plant species are considered rare or endangered. Within this community there are over 360 species of birds including 30 shorebirds (like the endangered Piping Plover) and waterfowl. There are more than 120 species of fish including menhaden, sea trout, striped bass, and American shad. There are also three different types of shellfish that are harvested extensively by commercial and recreational fisherman including blue crabs (hard and soft shell) and hard clams. All of these resources have an enormous economic value to the region through activities such as fishing, clamming, bird watching, and eco-tourism, camping and hunting. Good water quality is essential to all of these resources and related activities.