EPA, NY declare state-side 'No Discharge Zone' for boaters in Lake Erie

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NEW YORK, NY, July 3, 2014 -- Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) have partnered to declare the New York side of the Lake Erie shoreline a "No Discharge Zone," meaning boats are completely banned from discharging sewage into the water.

The EPA reviewed the NYDEC's proposal to establish a No Discharge Zone for the lake and determined that there are adequate facilities in the area for boats to pump out their sewage. Boaters must now dispose of their sewage at one of the lake's specially-designated pump-out stations. This action is part of a joint EPA and New York State strategy to eliminate the discharge of sewage from boats into the state's waterways.

The No Discharge Zone for the New York State portion of Lake Erie is a 593-square-mile area and 84 miles that includes the waters of the lake from the Pennsylvania-New York State boundary, as well as the Upper Niagara River and numerous other tributaries, harbors and bays of the Lake, including Barcelona Harbor, Dunkirk Harbor and the Buffalo Outer Harbor. Lake Erie and its harbors, bays, creeks, and wetlands support fish-spawning areas and habitat, commercial and recreational boating, and recreational opportunities.

The NYDEC petitioned the EPA in July 2012. The EPA initially made a determination in December 2012 that adequate sewage pump-out facilities exist and that the state's proposal to designate areas of Lake Erie as a No Discharge Zone can go forward. The EPA received significant comments questioning the availability of sewage pump-out facilities, particularly for larger vessels, and the EPA conferred with New York State to gather more information.

Accordingly, that information gathering was completed, and in September of 2013, the EPA re-proposed its determination that there are adequate facilities. The EPA has now finalized its decision, which went into effect on June 20, 2014.

See also:

"Boat sewage ban proposed in New York State Canal System"

"Feds Approve California Sewage Ban and Create Largest Coastal No-Discharge Zone in the Nation"

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