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EPA approves request by Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management to make this designation for the Upper North Shore
With the designation of the Massachusetts Upper North Shore coastal waters as a No Discharge Area (NDA), the coastal area of Massachusetts state waters, from the New Hampshire state line down to Cape Cod Bay, will be cleaner and healthier because they are better protected from boat sewage, the EPA said.
EPA has approved a request by the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management to make this designation for the Upper North Shore. No Discharge designation means that the towns and cities of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, Amesbury, West Newbury, Merrimac, Groveland, North Andover, Haverhill, Methuen and Lawrence have prohibited the discharge of treated and untreated boat sewage in the water body.
“This is a major piece of the puzzle for Massachusetts to protect one of the last large areas of coastline from boat sewage,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “EPA applauds all the communities across the Commonwealth and across New England who have recognized that protecting and enhancing the health of our environment is closely linked to preserving vibrant and prosperous communities. Clean coastal water means more tourists visiting our towns and cities and supporting our economy. Clean coastal water on the Upper North Shore means great beach days, bountiful shellfisheries and a resilient economy.”
EPA worked closely with state and local officials, and conducted site visits to the area to determine whether there were sufficient pumpout facilities to serve the boating public.
“This critical piece in the NDA puzzle gives us continuous no discharge coverage all the way from the New Hampshire border to the tip of Provincetown, 60% of state waters,” said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Secretary Ian Bowles. “By keeping bacteria and pathogens from boat sewage out of these coastal waters, we are protecting valuable coastal habitat used by recreational boaters, swimmers and the commercial fishing industry.”
Before EPA will endorse a No Discharge Area designation for any area, the applicant must demonstrate that there are enough “pumpout” facilities where boaters can get their sewage holding tanks pumped out. This particular area has an estimated 5,555 boats, of which 1,525 may have a head or toilet on board. There are more than 25 marinas or boat yards that are adjacent to the proposed NDA. There are a total of 13 pumpout facilities in the proposed area.