Outer Cape Cod officially designated a No Discharge Area

Boat sewage dumping not allowed along 67% of the Commonwealth's coastline


   A map, courtesy of the EPA, showing the No Discharge Areas (NDAs) in Massachusetts and all of New England. Click here for a larger version.

Today, Richard K. Sullivan Jr., secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) announced that the EPA approved the designation of the Outer Cape Cod No Discharge Area (NDA).

Click here for a list of Cape Cod pumpout facilities.

In a designated No Discharge Area, the dumping of boat sewage, both treated and untreated, is prohibited.  In March, the EEA submitted the Outer Cape Cod NDA application to the EPA for review after a year of working with the state's Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and the towns of Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown to ensure an adequate number of waste pumpout facilities for boaters. 

A body of water can be designated an NDA if local, state and federal authorities can determine the area requires protection above that provided by existing state and federal laws.  According to the EEA, there are now 15 NDAs along the Commonwealth's coast, covering 67% percent of state waters. These latest designation means cleaner waters along the Outer Cape for swimming, boating and fishing.

The Outer Cape Cod NDA extends from the earlier designated Cape Cod Bay NDA in Provincetown to the tip of Chatham and includes the waters of the National Seashore and Nauset Harbor. Pleasant Bay received its own NDA designation last year. The Outer Cape Cod NDA covers 24 beaches, the EEA said.

According to the EEA, NDAs protect water quality and aquatic life from pathogens, nutrients and chemical products contained in discharged sewage. These pathogens, nutrients and chemicals also put humans at a risk for illness and could contaminate shellfish in local waters.  NDAs also reduce the growth of harmful algae.

In addition to the  Outer Cape Cod NDA, the other 14 protected no-dumping zones in Massachusetts are:

  • Upper North Shore - the coastal waters of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, including the Merrimack River in Amesbury, West Newbury,
  • Merrimac, Groveland, North Andover, Haverhill, Methuen, and Lawrence
  • Pleasant Bay (Brewster, Orleans, Harwich, and Chatham) and Chatham Harbor
  • The coastal waters of Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Nahant, and Swampscott, including the Pines and Saugus Rivers
  • All of Cape Cod Bay
  • Boston Harbor - the coastal waters of Winthrop, Chelsea, Everett, Boston, Quincy, Milton, Weymouth, Braintree, Hingham, and Hull, including the Charles River in Watertown, Newton, and Cambridge
  • Salem Sound - the coastal waters of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Beverly, Danvers, Salem, and Marblehead
  • The coastal waters of Cohasset, Scituate, and Marshfield
  • The coastal waters of Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury
  • All of Buzzards Bay
  • Waquoit Bay in Falmouth
  • The coastal waters of Harwich
  • Three Bays/Centerville Harbor in Barnstable
  • Stage Harbor in Chatham
  • The coastal waters of Nantucket from Muskeget Island to Great Point, including Nantucket Harbor

According to the EEA, there are only two areas along the state's coast that remain unprotected: Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds and Mt. Hope Bay. Once these two final areas are designated, the entire Massachusetts coast will be protected.

Source: MA EEA.

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