Under the federal Clean Water Act, states may petition (through a written application) for a No Discharge Area (NDA) designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator.

In Massachusetts, the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) provides interested communities with NDA resources and information, assists communities in writing the NDA application, coordinates with EPA, and helps to ensure that the proposed NDA has adequate pumpout facilities. In addition, all NDA applications must be certified by CZM to be consistent with its Program Policies pdf format of    Massachusetts Coastal Program Policies  . CZM then officially requests that the Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs designate the proposed waters for EPA approval as an NDA.

To assist in this process, CZM has developed an NDA Template. For a copy, or for additional information on the application process, contact CZM's No Discharge Area Coordinator Todd Callaghan at todd.callaghan@state.ma.us or (617) 626-1233, or Ann Rodney at EPA New England at rodney.ann@epa.gov or (617) 918-1538.

Once the application has been submitted, the EPA Regional Administrator must determine that it contains the following seven components required pursuant to Section 312 (f)(3) of the federal Clean Water Act (codified at 33 USC § 1322 - Marine sanitation devices) and Chapter 40 Code of Federal Regulations Section 140.4:

  1. A certification that the protection and enhancement of the waters described in the petition require greater environmental protection than the applicable federal standards.
  2. A map showing the location of commercial and recreational pumpout facilities.
  3. A description of the location of pumpout facilities within waters nominated for a "No Discharge Area."
  4. The general schedule of operating hours of the pumpout facilities.
  5. The draft requirements on the vessels that may be excluded from a pumpout facility because of insufficient water depth adjacent to the facility.
  6. Information indicating that the treatment of waste from such pumpout facilities is in conformance with federal law.
  7. Information on vessel population and vessel usage of the subject waters.

In addition to these seven requirements, EPA New England reviews the type of outreach campaign planned for boaters when evaluating an area for an NDA designation.