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Ban Starts on Dumping Boat Sewage into LI Sound

No-discharge zone established along the entire North Shore of Long Island.

A new law banning the discharge of boat sewage into Long Island Sound goes into effect Thursday, two days after Rep. Tim Bishop and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the measure at West Meadow Beach in Old Field.

"It's a great step forward for the Long Island Sound," Bishop said by phone on Wednesday. "This ensures that it remains a fishable, swimmable body of water that the public can safely enjoy. The [New York State Department of Environmental Conservation] made the judgement, and I think it's wonderful."

The ban establishes a No-Discharge Zone along the entire North Shore of Long Island, joining Connecticut's own no-dumping zone to the north, effectively banning the dumping of boat sewage anywhere in a 760-square-mile area.

Boaters are now required to visit specially designated pump-out stations. The law mandates a $250 penalty for the first offense.

Discharges of this type of sewage can carry harmful levels of pathogens and certain chemicals, such as formaldehyde, phenols and chlorine, according to the EPA. 

“Clean water is one of New York’s most valuable assets, and pumping sewage from boats into local waters is a practice that is both harmful and completely unnecessary,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck said in a statement. “Establishing a no-discharge zone for the New York portions of Long Island Sound is an important step to further protect water quality and vital aquatic habitat in the Sound.”

DEC commissioner Joe Martens said the new zone "closes a loophole exposed by boaters from neighboring states who have restrictions in place” and could previously cross into the Sound's New York waters to dump their sewage.

Connecticut designated its portion of the Sound an No-Dischagrge Zone in 2007. According to EPA press officer John Senn, the agency can only act to establish such a zone once a petition has been brought by a state, in this case via the DEC. The new No Discharge Zone was

Previous New York No-Discharge Zones in the Sound had been established in Mamaroneck Harbor, the Huntington-Northport Bay Complex, Port Jefferson Complex, Hempstead Harbor and Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Complex.  

LCDR September 09, 2011 at 03:40 AM
In the late 70's, early 80's, the Coast Guard would look at septic piping when doing a pleasure vessel boarding. We would look for a sewage line going overboard, or a line that could be routed to a through hull fitting. Sometimes we would find a three way valve which would allow a boater to pump sewage directly overboard, or, to a pump out station. Who is going to enforce this new 'dumping' law?? I hope they are allowed to do vessel inspections, and trained to look for plumbing variations.
BOB GHOSIO JR. September 09, 2011 at 01:17 PM
This is great news! The Southold Trustees have hoped for this for some time. In fact, my colleague Trustee Dave Bergen, put quite a bit of effort in working with other officials from Connecticut to establish the whole Sound as a no dump zone. I'm glad it's finally done. Enforcement will be an issue I'm sure, but the hope is that most boaters are honest people who will voluntarily follow the law. That in of itself should help quite a bit.
Mark Wilson September 09, 2011 at 02:41 PM
Can you just imagine the TOTAL COST to enforce this unenforceable rule ?
LCDR September 10, 2011 at 02:33 PM
Mr. Wilson, no need to worry. Mr. Ghosio reminds us that the hope is "most boaters are honest people who will voluntarily follow the law". Of course, if that were the case, why did we need the law?? And those of us without boats can pick up the tab for enhanced pump out stations. And those without 'heads' will continue to 'go' over the side. And boatloads of fisherman, having consumed a few brews, will of course seek out a pump station, right. Unenforceable laws cost more than enforceable laws. If people are so honest, why is every other driver I see using their cellphone?
Mark Wilson September 18, 2011 at 12:05 PM
IF we solved this problem, there would be nowhere to place these Guys relatives, would there ?

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