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5 More North Shore Communities Gain “No Discharge” Designation to Stem Boat Pollution

Release Date: 03/19/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – March 19, 2009) – The coastal waters of Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Nahant and Swampscott, Mass. will be protected as a “No Discharge Area,” where discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited. The area is between Boston Harbor and Salem Sound area, which were both designated in 2008.

To quality for a No Discharge designation, there must be adequate pumpout facilities where boaters can get their holding tanks pumped out. This particular area has an estimated 1222 boats, of which only 660 are large enough to have a Ahead@ or toilet on board. There are two pumpout facilities in the area – one fixed shore pumpout station, and the other is a pumpout boat.

This is an important milestone in EPA’s plan to designate the majority of New England waters as No Discharge, because now all Massachusetts waters from Manchester-By-The-Sea down to Provincetown and Cape Cod Bay require boats to use sanitary pumpout facilities. A petition requesting EPA approval of the No Discharge area was submitted by the Massachusetts office of Coastal Zone Management. EPA’s approval of the Massachusetts request appeared yesterday in the Federal Register.

“Boat sewage can lead to health problems for swimmers, closed shellfish beds and the overall degradation of marine habitats,” said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “Protecting coastal waters and environments from elevated levels of bacteria and pathogens is a sound way to protect our beautiful coastal areas for all to enjoy and prosper.”

"This latest designation brings Massachusetts that much closer to Governor Patrick's goal of having all of the state's coastal waters clean and completely free of boat waste," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles. "This collaborative effort between North Shore communities and state and federal officials represents an impressive display of leadership in ocean stewardship, and brings the statewide non-discharge area to more than 800 square miles of discharge-free waters for residents and visitors to the Commonwealth to enjoy."

"We are delighted with the good news that the Lower North Shore will be protected from boat sewage," says Polly Bradley, co-founder of Safer Waters in Massachusetts (Nahant SWIM, Inc.). "This designation is particularly important for Nahant, because it affects both local boats and also boats and ships headed to and from Boston Harbor that travel through Nahant waters. With the designation happening before the 2009 boating season, we'll have cleaner water this summer.”

The protection of Massachusetts waters is strengthened because Mass. Governor Deval Patrick in January signed legislation giving environmental law enforcement – including environmental police officers, harbormasters, fish and game wardens, and police officers assigned to patrol the waters of the Commonwealth – the ability to issue administrative penalties for violations of no discharge regulations.

Other areas in New England with No Discharge areas include: All state marine waters of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire; in Massachusetts: Harwich, Waquoit Bay, Nantucket Harbor, Wellfleet, Barnstable, and Buzzards Bay (including Wareham and Westport), Plymouth/Duxbury/Kingston, Scituate/Marshfield/Cohasset, Salem Sound, Boston Harbor, and Cape Cod Bay; and Casco Bay, Maine.

More Information:

No Discharge Areas in New England (

EPA final determination (

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