For Immediate Release
August 07, 2007
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Mayor Menino Proposes EPA Designate Boston Harbor A "No Discharge" Area
Boston to Become Largest City with NDA Designation on East Coast
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced the submission of an application to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate Boston Harbor as a No Discharge Area (NDA) for boat sewage. Designated under the Federal Clean Water Act, an NDA prohibits boats from discharging treated or untreated waste directly into the water.
Mayor Menino was joined by representatives from numerous state and federal agencies, as well as Mayor William Phelan of Quincy and other municipal officials from Hull, Hingham, Weymouth, Chelsea, Everett and Winthrop. Once designated, Boston would become the largest city and working port on the East Coast to be designated a "No Discharge Area."
"I am proud to announce that the City of Boston has asked the EPA to designate Boston Harbor as a "No Discharge Area." This designation would prohibit boaters from dumping all sewage – both treated and untreated – into the Harbor," Mayor Menino said. "This designation is the next step in our ongoing efforts to protect our coastal waters while maximizing the recreational and economic opportunities along Boston Harbor."
Once labeled the "filthiest harbor in America," Boston Harbor has recently undergone a renaissance. Now, one of the cleanest harbors in the nation, it has become a popular locale for swimming, boating, fishing and recreational activities. The designation will further improve the water quality in Boston Harbor as vessels will be prohibited from discharging harmful sewage in to the Harbor. Boats will be required to use pump-out facilities to dispose of waste.
"This marks another major milestone of Boston Harbor's water quality comeback," Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office, said. "The fact that one of America's oldest industrial harbors is pursuing a no-discharge designation for boats should demonstrate to coastal communities across New England that a cleaner, healthier coastline is within their grasp."
"Thanks to partnerships like the one we're recognizing today, Boston Harbor has come a very long way in the past couple of decades. Creating a No-Discharge Zone from Winthrop to Hull is the next phase in that progress – making sure that Boston Harbor will continue to be a great asset not only for Boston's residents and visitors, but for the many recreational boaters and commercial vessel operators that traverse these waters," Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said. "The Commonwealth looks forward to adding Boston Harbor to the eight No-Discharge Zones that are already working successfully along the Massachusetts coast."
The $4 billion Boston Harbor cleanup has helped stimulate new investments to the waterfront and port areas of Boston. Activities in the Port of Boston generate more than 34,000 jobs and have an annual economic impact of 2.4 billion dollars. And 1.1 billion dollars worth of development are now under construction, including office space, housing, retail, and hotel rooms. Boston Harbor also plays a large role in residents' quality of life with the newly restored Spectacle Island and rejuvenated beaches.
Before designating the area, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) and EPA will review the application to ensure that there are adequate pumpout facilities available to boaters. Boaters can connect a hose to the boat's sanitation device and empty the contents into an on-shore tank for treatment at a sewage treatment plant, or connect to a pumpout vessel that travels to the boat.
Boston would be the largest city and working port designated a "No Discharge Area" on the East Coast. Currently there are eight NDAs in Massachusetts, including the waters of Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury, all of Buzzards Bay, Waquoit Bay in Falmouth, Harwich, Three Bays/Centerville Harbor in Barnstable, Stage Harbor in Chatham, Wellfleet Harbor, and Nantucket from Muskeget Island to Great Point, including Nantucket Harbor.
The City of Boston, the Massachusetts EOEEA, and US EPA have pledged to work cooperatively to meet the goal of having Boston Harbor designated as an NDA for the 2008 boating season.