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EPA seeks no-discharge zone on St. Lawrence River

Boats are allowed to dump their toilets into the St. Lawrence River, but that’s about to change.

Boats are allowed to dump their toilets into the St. Lawrence River, but that’s about to change.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that a no-discharge zone can be established for the New York portion of the river. The state Department of Environmental Conservation petitioned the EPA to take that action to prohibit sewage dumping from boats.

The state and federal agencies determined that the St. Lawrence has enough pumpout facilities to remove waste from all types of vessels, according to the Associated Press.

The EPA is taking public comment until April 25 on its proposed approval of a “no discharge zone.”

New York waters already established as no-discharge zones include lakes Erie, Ontario, Champlain and George, the New York State Canal System and the Hudson River.

The St. Lawrence River is one of the longest rivers in North America and is the outflow for the entire Great Lakes system, according to Save the River, a group formed to prevent pollution in the St. Lawrence. The Great Lakes hold nearly 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

The river flows 744 miles from Lake Ontario into the world's largest estuary, the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only 114 miles of the river are in New York.

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