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Portions of Southern Mt. Desert Isle Seeking “No Discharge” Designation to Stem Boat Pollution

Release Date: 04/29/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – April 29, 2009) – EPA is considering a proposal from the State of Maine to designate coastal waters of significant portions of Mount Desert Island as a “No Discharge Area.” If approved, discharges of treated and untreated boat sewage would be prohibited within the marine waters of Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Cranberry Isles and portions of Tremont. Mount Desert Island is well known by thousands of visitors to Acadia National Park.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP) has petitioned EPA to approve the No Discharge designation. EPA has in turn published the request in the Federal Register and will accept public comments on the proposal for 30 days, ending on May 26.

The areas are adjacent to and bordered by Acadia National Park, which is the most popular tourist location in the state. The proposed portions of Mount Desert Island represent the fourth area in Maine to seek a “no discharge” designation for coastal waters.

Before EPA will endorse a No Discharge Area designation for any area, the applicant must demonstrate that there are enough “pumpout” facilities where boaters can get their sewage holding tanks pumped out. This particular area has an estimated 992 boats, of which 374 are large enough to have a "head" or toilet on board. There are a total of six pumpout facilities in the proposed area.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the proposed area is “High Value Wildlife Habitat” and includes almost 25 square miles of marine habitat, 252 acres of identified shellfish habitat, 4,000 acres of wetlands and essential habit for bald eagles. This area is a popular destination for boaters due to its natural environmental diversity and proximity to the world renowned Acadia National Park.

Other areas in New England with No Discharge Areas include: All state marine waters of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire; extensive portions of Massachusetts; Casco Bay and Boothbay Harbor in Maine; and Lake Champlain in Vermont and New York, and Lake Memphremagog in Vermont and Quebec.

More information:

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No Discharge Areas in New England (www.epa.gov/ne/eco/nodiscrg/index.html)

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How to comment on proposal (www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-WATER/2009/April/Day-24/w9439.htm)

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