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EPA Proposes to OK New York's Plan to Ban Boat Sewage in Hudson River

Release Date: 10/18/2000
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(#00191) New York, New York -- In a move that will improve water quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to approve a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) plan to prohibit boats from discharging treated or untreated sewage into waters of the Hudson River from the Troy dam to the Battery in Manhattan. 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 water quality. EPA and NYSDEC have previously banned the discharge of treated boat sewage in Huntington Harbor and Lloyd Harbor and the greater Huntington-Northport Bay Complex, which includes Lower Huntington and Northport Bays, Centerport, Northport, Duck Island Harbors and Price Bend.

"The Hudson is a true national treasure," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator. "This proposed ‘No Discharge Area’ will augment the efforts over the past thirty years to control pollution sources and restore the Hudson to its original majesty. Because we have pump stations, boats need not discharge their sewage into this beautiful River."

NYSDEC petitioned EPA in April 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. Once the "No Discharge Area" is approved, both treated and untreated vessel sewage will be prohibited. EPA is taking public comment on it’s proposed decision for thirty days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. Publication in the Federal Register is expected within the next two weeks. A copy of the EPA proposed decision can be obtained from and comments should be sent to James Olander, EPA Region 2, 290 Broadway, New York, New York 10007.