Saturday, July 16, 2005

No-Discharge Zone Proposed for Huge Area of the Sound

EPA is proposing that a big area of Connecticut's portion of Long Island Sound -- from Branford west to the New York border -- be designated a no discharge zone for boats.

AP reported:

The designation would also include the Quinnipiac River from North Haven and the Housatonic River from Derby Dam in Derby to the coast of Long Island Sound.

According to DEP, eliminating the release of treated and untreated sewage from boats will reduce pollution in swimming areas, shellfish beds and other environmentally sensitive aquatic habitats.

Rick Huntley, the DEP's Clean Vessels Act coordinator, said average recreational vessels can often hold 20 to 50 gallons of sewage on board, while megayachts and commercial vessels hold much more.

It's mind boggling that people in boats would think it's OK to put their sewage into the Sound. The truth is, though, that over the years it has become both more unacceptable among boaters and easier to to avoid because of an increase in pump out stations, including Soundkeeper's free program.

Soundkeeper has four pump out boats that operate from Westport to the Byram River in Greenwich, and in Mamaroneck Harbor (which is also a no discharge zone).

It's a good program and EPA's proposal deserves support.


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