Feb 21 2017

“No-Discharge Zone” for Puget Sound

Published by at 11:11 am under Liveaboard Topics,Shilshole Marina

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final affirmative determination that adequate sewage pump-out facilities are available for recreational and commercial vessels to support the Washington Department of Ecology’s proposed “No-Discharge Zone” for Puget Sound.

Ecology has proposed to establish a “No-Discharge Zone” for Puget Sound which would prohibit the discharge of vessel sewage – both treated and untreated – into Puget Sound waters. Ecology’s petition concluded that there is sufficient need for establishing a No-Discharge Zone to protect water quality and the related ecological, economic, and recreational benefits provided by Puget Sound.

Under Section 312(f)(3) of the Clean Water Act, EPA’s role in the No-Discharge Zone process is to determine whether adequate pump-out facilities for recreational and commercial vessels are reasonably available. EPA’s final determination was based on information that the Department of Ecology included in its petition package and a supplemental submission. EPA’s final determination also considered over 40,000 comments received during a 45-day public comment period from individuals, environmental organizations, vessel associations, boating and yacht clubs, industry representatives, port authorities, federal, county, local and tribal governmental entities, and other interested groups.

EPA’s final determination does not constitute designation of a no-discharge zone.  The state of Washington may now finalize the proposed designation in accordance with state law and take the steps it determines are appropriate to implement and enforce the discharge prohibition.

Rec Boaters Assoc of WA review of EPA’s determination

EPA’s final determination was published in the Federal Register on February 21, 2017 and is available for review at the link below:


Region 10 website: epa.gov/Puget-sound/epas-final-determination-no-discharge-zone-Puget-sound

EPA’s response to comments is also available at:



For more about the Department of Ecology’s petition: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/nonpoint/CleanBoating/nodischargezone.html.

Catherine Gockel  MS, MPA

Office of Water & Watersheds

EPA Region 10


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