North Shore, Boothbay Seek 'No Discharge' Designation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering a proposal from Massachusetts to designate the coastal waters of Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Nahant, and Swampscott as “No Discharge Areas.” If approved, discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited within the town boundaries.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has petitioned EPA to approve the No Discharge designation. EPA has in turn published the request in the Federal Register and will accept public comments on the proposal until Feb. 4.

If approved, the coastal waters of the five North Shore communities would join other coastal waters in protecting the environment from treated and untreated boat sewage. 

This particular area has an estimated 1,222 boats, of which 660 are large enough to have a head or toilet on board. Within the proposed area, there are two pumpout facilities connected to municipal sewage systems.

The proposed no discharge area contains the ecologically-important Rumney Marsh – a 2,274 acres of salt marsh – designated by the state as an "Area of Critical Environmental Concern. 

The agency also is considering a proposal from the state of Maine to designate the coastal waters of Boothbay Harbor as a “No Discharge Area.” 

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP) petitioned EPA to approve the No Discharge designation. EPA will accept public comments until Feb. 4.

Boothbay Harbor, one of the top tourist locations in the state, is the third area in Maine to seek a “no discharge” designation for coastal waters. 

This particular area has an estimated 893 boats, of which 458 are large enough to have a head or toilet on board. There are a total of six pumpout facilities, and five marinas, in the proposed area.

The proposed no discharge area is important ecologically as well. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ranks 252 acres of identified shellfish habitat in the proposed protected area as “High Value Wildlife Habitat.” 

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