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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Treehugger Tuesday

Trying to clean up the Jamaica Bay Watershed

It is difficult for me to believe that, up until this recent EPA announcement, boaters have been able to legally dump sewage from their boats into Jamaica Bay! The Jamaica Bay Watershed Task Force, a multi-agency advisory panel, has been formulating strategies for protecting this critical system of habitats for several years. I'm not sure why it has taken so long to take this obvious step.

EPA Announces Public Comment Period on Proposal to Ban Dumping Sewage from Boats Into Jamaica Bay

Release date: 08/03/2011

Contact Information: Kasia Broussalian, (212) 637-3581, and John Senn, (212) 637-3667,

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tentatively determined that there are adequate facilities near Jamaica Bay for boats to pump out their sewage, allowing the establishment of a “no discharge zone” for an approximately 20,000-acre area, as proposed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. A no-discharge zone means that boats are completely banned from discharging sewage into the water. Boaters must instead dispose of their sewage at specially-designated pump-out stations. This action is part of a joint EPA/New York State strategy to eliminate the discharge of sewage from boats into the state’s waterways. Discharges of sewage from boats can contain harmful levels of pathogens and chemicals such as formaldehyde, phenols and chlorine, which have a negative impact on water quality, pose a risk to people’s health and impair marine life. EPA is encouraging public comment on its proposed approval until September 2, 2011.

EPA’s tentative determination is available in the Federal Register at:

New York State has proposed to ban the discharge of boat sewage in an area of Jamaica Bay that encompasses 17,177 acres of open water and 2,695 acres of upland islands and salt marshes in Brooklyn and Queens. The northeastern and southeastern parts of Jamaica Bay reach Nassau County, while the northern shore of the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens forms the southern boundary of the bay. The bay is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the Rockaway Inlet, and eight tributaries empty into Jamaica Bay: Sheepshead Bay, Paerdegat Basin, Fresh Creek, Hendrix Creek, Spring Creek, Shellbank Basin, Bergen Basin and Thurston Basin. Upon a final affirmative determination from EPA, New York State may proceed to ban the discharge of boat sewage into Jamaica Bay and its tributaries.

For more information about no discharge zones, visit

To comment on the proposed EPA approval, email, fax or mail comments to Moses Chang at, Fax: (212) 637-3891. Mailing address: Moses Chang, U.S. EPA Region 2, 290 Broadway, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10007-1866.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at and visit our Facebook page,

1 comment:

Christopher Eliot said...

Wrote a letter. Maybe we can make some headway towards restoring shellfish beds in the area, bringing back Red Knots ...

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