Connecticut Protects Coastal Waters and Long Island Sound By Banning Boat Discharges
Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell today announced that all of Connecticut’s waters in Long Island Sound are now part of a “No Discharge Area,” making it illegal for boaters to discharge sewage from their vessels anywhere in the state’s portion of the Sound.
A “No Discharge Area” is a designated body of water in which the discharge of treated and untreated boat sewage is prohibited. Boaters in “No Discharge Areas” are required to use pumpout facilities or pumpout boats to dispose of any waste. Today’s “No Discharge Area” designation means that all of Connecticut’s coastal waters are protected.
At a ceremony in Norwalk, EPA’s regional administrator for New England joined Governor Rell and Connecticut officials in making the announcement regarding expanding protection for Connecticut’s coastal waters.
“Thanks to Governor Rell’s leadership, the 21 million people who live within 50 miles of Connecticut’s coastline will enjoy a cleaner Long Island Sound,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Connecticut is now one of only three states in the U.S. to designate their entire coastline a no discharge area, and that’s a big step toward improved water quality. Eliminating sewage discharges from boats means cleaner beaches, cleaner shellfish beds and cleaner boating.”
Governor Rell said, “This is a major milestone because it extends this protection to all of the waters off Connecticut’s coast. It means we are doing everything possible to make certain that boaters can enjoy our waters – but that they do so in a manner that protects the beauty and quality of Long Island Sound for all of us and for future generations. Long Island Sound is Connecticut’s most precious natural resource. Gaining this designation today recognizes our commitment to protect both the quality of the Sound and the health of the public. We are pleased to see our vision of a healthy Long Island Sound becoming a reality. I thank EPA and DEP for the hard work and cooperation it took to designate the entire Sound a ‘No Discharge Area.’
The Commissioner of Connecticut’s Dept. of Environmental Protection, Gina McCarthy said, “Preserving the quality of Connecticut’s waters – including Long Island Sound – is a top priority for DEP. Designating all of Long Island Sound as a ‘No Discharge Area’ will help us accomplish this goal. Completion of this process shows that we are ready to do what it takes to preserve Long Island Sound – and the spectacular natural resources and aquatic life it contains – for the enjoyment of everyone who lives in Connecticut or visits our state.”
“With Connecticut’s entire shoreline now declared a No Discharge Area, the state’s boaters are helping to take charge of their portion of the environment,” said Grant W. Westerson, Executive Director of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association. “Each and every boater applauds the opportunity to help give this wonderful asset, Long Island Sound, a brighter, cleaner, and healthier future. Boating is good clean fun - and we are going to keep it that way.”
To qualify as a “No Discharge Area,” an area must have enough pump-out facilities where boaters can get their holding tanks pumped out. In its application for the Branford to Greenwich portion of the Sound, the DEP identified a total of 43 available pumpout facilities including 31 fixed shore-based facilities, five portable facilities, and seven pumpout boats.
Connecticut is only the third state in the U.S. to designate their entire coastline a no discharge area. The other two states with this designation are also in New England: Rhode Island (including Block Island’s Great Salt Pond) and New Hampshire. Other areas in New England designated as a “No Discharge Area” include: Harwich, Waquoit Bay, Nantucket Harbor, Wellfleet, Barnstable, Buzzards Bay (including Wareham and Westport), and Plymouth/Duxbury/Kingston area in Massachusetts; Casco Bay in Maine; and Lake Champlain and Lake Menphremagog in Vermont and New York.
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