For Immediate Release - August 01, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Secures No Discharge Area Designation for Outer Cape Cod

Latest designation covers 30 miles of coastline making 67 percent of the Massachusetts coastline a no boat sewage dumping zone

BOSTON - August 1, 2011 - Advancing the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to protecting the Massachusetts coastline, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the Commonwealth's designation of the Outer Cape Cod No Discharge Area (NDA).

"Cape Cod is a jewel in the Commonwealth's crown of natural resources and a sought-after destination for people around the world," said Secretary Sullivan. "I am proud to announce the protection of another section of the Cape's coastal waters which will ensure that everyone can enjoy clean water along this landmark stretch of shoreline."

This latest NDA designation, submitted to EPA for approval by EEA earlier this year, prohibits the discharge of any treated or untreated boat sewage along the entire Atlantic side of Cape Cod. There are now 15 NDAs along the Massachusetts coast - covering 67 percent of state waters. This latest NDA covers the coastal waters off Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown. A designated no-dumping zone for boat sewage means cleaner water for recreational pursuits from boating to swimming and fishing.

Under the Clean Water Act, a body of water can be designated an NDA if local, state and federal authorities determine the area is ecologically and recreationally important enough to merit protection above and beyond that provided by existing state and federal laws. In Massachusetts, EEA's Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) works closely with communities and the EPA to establish NDAs as part of a comprehensive regional water quality approach.

"EPA is very proud to help these Outer Cape communities take an important step in protecting the health of their coastal areas," said Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator of EPA's New England Office. "Especially in summer, we see how a clean and pristine environment is a critical foundation of the Cape's vibrant tourism economy. Summer visitors expect to find clean coastal water, and this designation will help ensure that Cape citizens are protecting their environment and their economy."

Secretary Sullivan submitted the Outer Cape Cod NDA application to EPA on March 30, capping a year of work by CZM and six communities (Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown) to ensure that there are adequate waste pumpout facilities for boaters to use.

"Designation of the Outer Cape Cod NDA was a team effort, with local, state and federal partners working together to protect these coastal waters," said Bruce Carlisle, CZM Director. "I'd especially like to thank these six Cape Cod communities for their commitment to protecting coastal water quality and habitat and give a special nod to Goose Hummock Marine for their partnership and support in this endeavor."

In particular, the town of Orleans and Goose Hummock Marine were instrumental in providing the necessary coverage for Nauset Harbor by respectively purchasing and agreeing to operate and maintain a new shoreside pumpout facility. The town of Orleans will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the cost of purchasing and operating the pumpout facility via the Commonwealth's Clean Vessel Act Program administered by the Department of Fish and Game's Division of Marine Fisheries.

The Outer Cape Cod NDA extends from the previously designated Cape Cod Bay NDA in Provincetown to the tip of Chatham, covering the waters within the National Seashore and including Nauset Harbor. Pleasant Bay was separately designated as an NDA in 2010. The 30 miles of coastline included in the NDA are extremely important for recreation and tourism. The area's 24 beaches include the Cape Cod National Seashore, which is enjoyed by millions of visitors each year. It is also a popular area for boaters - with Nauset Harbor home to more than 500 vessels. Swimming, sailing and shellfishing are other important local recreational activities.

"It is especially appropriate that the No Discharge Zone for waters off the long arm of the Cape be created as the Cape Cod National Seashore celebrates an historic anniversary," said Cape and Islands State Sen. Dan Wolf. "This is another strong environmental step in keeping with that legacy, and I welcome the excellent collaboration among our towns, regional, state and federal officials."

"The NDA designation for the Outer Cape is a milestone to celebrate," said State Rep. Sarah Peake. "The environment and the economy on Cape Cod are inextricably linked. This No Discharge Zone will help the environment, the fishing industry, and the tourism industry."

"The EPA's decision to approve the Outer Cape Cod No Discharge Area designation could not have better timing," said State Rep. Bill Keating. "Despite incessant attacks on the EPA's regulatory authority and essential conservation efforts, the EPA has again demonstrated its unrelenting commitment to upholding the standards of the Clean Water Act. Perhaps no one in Massachusetts understands the economic importance of clean water more than the Tenth Congressional District. Our community is dependent on the tourism attracted to the scenic coastlines and pure waters of the Outer Cape. So for us, more visitors directly translate into more jobs and greater revenues. Without vital measures such as the designation of No Discharge Areas, our local economy would be severely impacted. This vision held by both the Commonwealth and EPA only adds to my pride as a resident of the Bay State, and I speak on behalf of the residents of Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown as I commend this announcement."

NDAs protect water quality and aquatic life from pathogens, nutrients and chemical products contained in discharged sewage and also reduce the risk of human illness, making it safer to swim, boat, fish and eat shellfish from protected waters. NDAs can also help reduce the growth of harmful algae that occurs due to high nutrient levels in sewage discharge and protect commercial clam fishing flats.

The outer Cape Cod NDA joins a growing list of protected state waters that include these 14 previously designated NDAs.

  • Upper North Shore - the coastal waters of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, including the Merrimack River in Amesbury, West Newbury, Merrimac, Groveland, North Andover, Haverhill, Methuen, and Lawrence
  • Pleasant Bay (Brewster, Orleans, Harwich, and Chatham) and Chatham Harbor
  • The coastal waters of Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Nahant, and Swampscott, including the Pines and Saugus Rivers
  • All of Cape Cod Bay
  • Boston Harbor - the coastal waters of Winthrop, Chelsea, Everett, Boston, Quincy, Milton, Weymouth, Braintree, Hingham, and Hull, including the Charles River in Watertown, Newton, and Cambridge
  • Salem Sound - the coastal waters of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Beverly, Danvers, Salem, and Marblehead
  • The coastal waters of Cohasset, Scituate, and Marshfield
  • The coastal waters of Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury
  • All of Buzzards Bay
  • Waquoit Bay in Falmouth
  • The coastal waters of Harwich
  • Three Bays/Centerville Harbor in Barnstable
  • Stage Harbor in Chatham
  • The coastal waters of Nantucket from Muskeget Island to Great Point, including Nantucket Harbor

Federal, state and local officials continue their work to designate the two areas which remain undesignated in Massachusetts coastal waters: Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds and Mt. Hope Bay, with the goal to protect the entire Massachusetts coastline as an NDA.

For more information on No Discharge Areas in New England, please visit: www.mass.gov/czm/nda and www.epa.gov/region01/eco/nodiscrg. For more on boat sewage pumpout locations throughout Massachusetts coastal waters, see: www.mass.gov/czm/nda/pumpouts

###