Most of New York State's coastal waters and connecting waterways are No Discharge Zones, where it is illegal to discharge treated or untreated sewage from boats. Boaters must instead dispose of their sewage at pump-out stations, available at many marinas
The following table lists waterbodies in New York that are currently designated as No Discharge Zones. For more information, including maps of these No Discharge Zones, visit the EPA New York State No Discharge Zones web page.
|Year Designated as a
No Discharge Zone
|Hudson River, water intake zones
|Hudson River Estuary
|Huntington-Northport Bay Complex
|Long Island Sound
|New York State Canal System
|Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor
|Peconic Waters, East Hampton
|Port Jefferson Complex
|Seneca and Cayuga Lakes (PDF)
|South Shore Estuary Reserve
The Reason for No Discharge Zones
Sewage from boats often contains harmful levels of pathogens and chemicals like formaldehyde, phenols, and chlorine, which harm water quality, pose a health risk, and impair marine life and habitats.
Federal law already prohibits the discharge of untreated boat sewage within most navigable waters of the U.S. To take water quality protection a step further, DEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working to prohibit sewage discharges to New York's coastal waters and navigable connecting waterways - which are not covered by the federal law - by designating them as No Discharge Zones.
No Discharge Zone designations are a key component of a larger strategy for protecting all coastal waters of New York State.
Future No Discharge Zones in New York
In 2010, New York State and EPA Region 2 announced a joint initiative to establish NDZs in the remaining coastal waters and navigable connecting waterways of the State. Since then, NDZ designations have been established for the New York State Canal Systems, the New York portion of Long Island Sound, Jamaica Bay, and the New York portions of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The remaining coastal waters without NDZs are the St. Lawrence River, New York Harbor waters, and easternmost Long Island South Shore. Approval of petitions for these remaining waters would complete the goal of NDZs in all coastal New York waterways.