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Oct 28, 2009 11:48 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

EPA approves 'no-discharge zone' designation for South Shore Estuary

Oct 28, 2009 11:48 AM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved New York State’s petition to have the entire South Shore Estuary Reserve designated a federal “No-Discharge Zone” and is finalizing the paperwork to register it as such, Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister announced this week.

The EPA has not yet announced the decision, but is expected to in the next few days, according to the baykeeper.

The designation is the end result of a two-year campaign led by Mr. McAllister and supported by the towns of Southampton, Brookhaven, Islip, Babylon, Oyster Bay and Hempstead, as well as the Fire Island National Seashore. The designation means that boaters will no longer be allowed to discharge waste from onboard toilets anywhere in the estuary, which stretches some 75 miles from Long Beach to Shinnecock Bay. The estuary reserve includes more than 110,000 acres of open bays and tributaries from the East Rockaway Inlet to Shinnecock Bay, extending from the Queens/Nassau County line east to Southampton Village.

Earlier this year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation signed off on the estuary petition.

Establishing a no-discharge zone will require vessels to discharge all sewage, treated or not, only at pump-out facilities. Previously, while it was illegal to dump untreated sewage into the estuary, flushing treated sewage—such as the waste from boat toilets—was allowed. The chemicals that treat boat discharges, such as formaldehyde, phenols and chlorine, harm the water, Mr. McAllister said, as does the waste.

To achieve the “No-Discharge Zone” approval, Mr. McAllister said he had to demonstrate the need for greater protection of the natural resources within the estuary and that an adequate number of pumpout facilities existed in the area.

“As Long Islanders, we’re deeply connected to our waters and it is our responsibility to ensure their long-term vitality,” he said in a press release. “Banning sewage discharges from vessels is another management step to ensure that the estuary is provided greater protection and can remain sustainable.”

Mr. McAllister has said that policing the no-discharge zone will be aided by the fact that boaters will not have to be “caught in the act” of dumping waste into the water. “Boaters will have to demonstrate to the authorities that they are incapable of discharging waste. They will have to show that the waste is being properly stored on board in a holding tank,” he said earlier this year.

JENNIFER L. HENN

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Good news ! Thanks Kevin !
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Oct 27, 09 7:36 PM
Thanks be to god. It is unbelievable that in 2009 oafs in boats are still pumping their excrement into Shinnecock Bay.
By highhatsize (3768), East Quogue on Oct 27, 09 10:29 PM
Kevin has worked tirelessly to better the entire East End marine environment. This accomplishment should propel him into the minds and hearts (and WALLETS) of all East Ender's. Our quality of life and our economic resources need the continuing vigilance of people like Mr. McAllister. It should also be clear that his success is tied to how much money he can raise. So this is a shameless pitch for all of you to contribute to his organization so it can restore and improve our treasured maritime heritage.
By foodie (74), Remsenburg on Oct 29, 09 10:53 AM