EPA green-lights Long Island no-discharge zone

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has "tentatively determined" that a proposal to establish a "no-discharge zone" in the New York waters of Long Island Sound can move forward.

The agency said in a statement that there are adequate facilities for boats in the sound to pump out their sewage and the proposal from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to establish the no-discharge zone can go forward.

A no-discharge zone bans boats from discharging sewage into the water. Boaters instead must dispose of their sewage at designated pumpout stations.

"This action is part of a joint EPA/New York state strategy to eliminate the discharge of sewage from boats into the state's waterways," the agency said in a statement. "Discharges of sewage from boats can contain harmful levels of pathogens and chemicals such as formaldehyde, phenols and chlorine, which have a negative impact on water quality, pose a risk to people's health and impair marine life."

The EPA is taking public comment on its proposed approval until May 11.

Connecticut coastal waters in Long Island Sound were designated a no-discharge zone by the EPA in 2007.

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