The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved a petition to designate the coastal waters of Outer Cape Cod, Mass., as a no-discharge area.
The designation means that Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown are protecting their coastal water quality from boat sewage pollution by prohibiting the discharge of treated and untreated boat sewage into coastal waters, according to the EPA.
The action results from EPA approval of a request by Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management to designate Outer Cape Cod waters. The Outer Cape waters join already established no-discharge areas for all Cape Cod Bay waters, as well as all Massachusetts coastal waters north to New Hampshire.
With the new designation, boats may not discharge treated or untreated sewage into any coastal waters of Massachusetts from the New Hampshire state line south to Chatham.
“EPA is very proud to help these Outer Cape communities take an important step in protecting the health of their coastal areas,” Curt Spalding, regional administrator of the EPA's New England office, said in a statement. “Especially in summer we see how a clean and pristine environment is a critical foundation of the Cape’s vibrant tourism economy. Summer visitors expect to find clean coastal water, and this designation will help ensure that Cape citizens are protecting their environment and their economy.”
The EPA said it worked closely with state and local officials and conducted site visits to determine whether there were sufficient pumpout facilities to serve the boating public.
Other New England coastal waters designated as no-discharge areas include:
• All state marine waters of Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire
• In Massachusetts: all waters except Mount Hope Bay, Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds and Martha’s Vineyard waters
• In Maine: Boothbay Harbor, Casco Bay, Kennebunk/Kennebunkport/Wells, the Southern Mount Desert area and West Penobscot Bay (Camden/Rockport/Rockland)