Proposal to make Puget Sound a no-discharge zone for vessel sewage

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Department of Ecology, with support from other state agencies, has formally requested that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protect Puget Sound by making it a no-discharge zone for vessel sewage.

The move would prohibit commercial and recreational vessels from releasing sewage into Puget Sound.

The Sound’s shellfish beds, swimming beaches and protected areas are especially vulnerable to vessel sewage. The sewage discharged contains relatively high concentrations of bacteria and viruses that can remain active even several miles or hours after entering the water.

“Washington has made a tremendous investment in the protection and restoration of Puget Sound,” said Ecology Director Maia Bellon, the agency that is leading the request. “This designation is an important piece of our strategy, and is a necessary step forward for one of our state’s most prized ecological treasures.”

The no-discharge zone would be the first in Washington and the Northwest. The EPA has established more than 90 such zones in 26 states.

The no-discharge zone designation is a near-term action on the Puget Sound Action Agenda.

“This designation is an important tool in recovering Puget Sound,” said Sheida Sahandy, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership. “It supports one of the region’s key strategic initiatives – restoring and re-opening shellfish beds. It also helps achieve both environmental and economic recovery outcomes.”

The Partnership is the state agency leading the region’s collective effort to restore and protect Puget Sound. It coordinates the Action Agenda, a regional recovery plan, by working with hundreds of partners – governments, tribes, scientists, businesses, nonprofits and others.

If approved by EPA, Ecology and other agencies would begin implementing the zone’s no-discharge requirement with education and technical assistance. These efforts would be augmented, as needed, by law enforcement in response to violations.


Jim Hutter July 22, 2016 at 4:05 AM  

Welcome to the department of redundancy department. Wasn't this proposal already in effect as part of the agreement to allow cruise ships into Puget Sound?
Puget Sound Partnership, dept of ecology and EPA is a waste of taxpayer dollars, all they accomplish is draining our wallets and pointing fingers at everyone but the polluters. This proposal has no teeth or accountability just like the Puget Sound partnership, DOE and EPA.

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