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EPA Gives Tentative Approval to NY's Plan to Stop Boats from Discharging Sewage in Huntington-Northport Bay Complex on Long Island

Release Date: 04/04/2000
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(#00052) New York, New York -- In a move that will improve shellfish bed and beach quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to approve the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) plan to prohibit boats from discharging treated or untreated sewage into waters in the greater Huntington-Northport Bay Complex, which includes Lower Huntington and Northport Bays, Centerport, Northport, Duck Island Harbors and Price Bend. EPA and NYSDEC have determined that there are a sufficient number of pump-out facilities located in the area to receive the sewage from vessels. Sewage discharges from boats have been identified as a source of contamination affecting near shore water quality. EPA and NYSDEC have previously taken action to ban the discharge of treated sewage in Huntington Harbor and Lloyd Harbor and in certain portions of the Hudson River.

"This designation of the Huntington-Northport complex as a 'No Discharge Area' will help improve water quality, which improves the quality of local shell fish beds and public and private beaches in the area," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "Beaches and shell fishing are very important to communities along the north shore of Long Island, and curbing boat sewage will cut off at least one source of pollution."

NYSDEC petitioned EPA in June 1999 to establish this "No Discharge Area." Under national marine sanitation standards, vessels operating in the bay complex are currently prohibited from discharging untreated sewage, but are allowed to discharge treated sewage from approved marine sanitation devices. If the "No Discharge Area" is approved, both treated and untreated vessel sewage will be prohibited. EPA will take public comments on its proposed approval for a thirty-day period after the proposal is published in the Federal Register.