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State Wants 'No-Discharge' in Sound

The New York DEC has submitted a petition to the U.S. EPA.

A request by the state Department of Environmental Conservation to declare the entire New York portion of the Long Island Sound as a "no-discharge zone" has received tentative approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Currently the waters of the Huntington-Northport Bay complex, Port Jefferson complex, Hempstead Harbor and Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor complex are designated as no-discharge zones.

A no-discharge designation means that boaters are banned from discharging their on-board sewage into the waters. 

The EPA determined that there are adequate facilities for boats in Long Island Sound to pump out their sewage. The EPA is accepting comments through May 11.

Boaters must instead dispose of their sewage at specially designated pump-out stations or pump-out boats, such as that available in Northport Village that can be summoned on Channel 9.

Northport Mayor George Doll said that while he thinks it’s a good idea, he believes pollution in the Sound comes from many sources.

“Sure, it’s a good idea," Doll said. "But studies have shown there are much bigger problems regarding what causes pollution in the Sound, like cesspools, for instance."

The DEC’s application states that “sewage often contains harmful levels of pathogens and chemicals such as formaldehyde, phenols and chlorine” and that “discharges harm water quality, pose a risk to people's health, and impair marine life and habitats.”

Connecticut designated its portion of the Long Island Sound as a no-discharge zone in 2007. A list of pump out facilities in the area and how to reach them is attached to this article in the EPA’s notice in the Federal Register.

To comment to the EPA on the DEC proposal, contact Moses Chang at (212) 637–3867 or chang.moses@epa.gov.

Avrum H Golub, M.D., J.D. May 01, 2011 at 11:37 AM
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has published these tips for us who love our waters: Keep Waterways Clean Clean your fish at a fish cleaning station. Or practice catch and release fishing! Leave your waste in an approved pumpout station or waste receptacle facility. Environmentally friendly products and cleaners should be used on your boat. Act responsibly to help reduce the spread of aquatic nuisance species by removing aquatic plants and other hitchhikers, washing your boat, and allowing it to dry thoroughly before entering another waterway. Never prop a fuel trigger or leave unattended when filling your gasoline tank. Boat wakes can cause shoreline erosion. Boat speed should be reduced to minimize your wake before reaching shorelines, or entering marine facilities. Oil absorbent material should be placed in the bilge. Oil absorbent pads and a tray should be placed under the engine. Replace annually or as needed. Act responsibly by recycling your cans, glass, plastic, newspaper, antifreeze, oil and lead batteries. Treat paint dust and scrapings from your boat as hazardous waste. Consult the marina manager or the DEC for safe disposal instructions. Inspect fuel lines regularly. Replace those with dry, cracked or soft spots. Never discharge bilge water that has a sheen. It may contain oil or gas that can contribute to water pollution. Good boaters should support marinas that are environmentally responsible.

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