Presentation Abstract

The Washington State Department of Ecology conducted a detailed five-year evaluation process leading to the establishment of a No Discharge Zone (NDZ) for vessel sewage in Puget Sound. The evaluation included gathering data on Puget Sound vessels, pumpout facilities, the conditions of Puget Sound, marine sanitation device performance, boater surveys, research on other states with NDZs, modeling of pollutant movement in areas of Puget Sound, an evaluation of implementation, and outreach to stakeholders. This led to a petition to EPA and for public comment. EPA reviewed our petition and in February 2017, determined that a no discharge zone can be established for Puget Sound. EPA found that there are adequate facilities in Puget Sound for vessels to pump out their sewage and Washington State may move forward with a designation. With EPA’s approval in place, Ecology conducted rulemaking to make Puget Sound off limits to vessel sewage. The rule allows five years for some commercial vessels without holding tanks to add them. Ecology took all of this input into management decisions along the way to proceed, including the geographic extent, a phase-in approach for certain vessels and implementation coordination with other agencies. The features that make Puget Sound such a stunning scenic, environmental and economic resource also make it uniquely sensitive to pollution. Its long, narrow shape limits the circulation of water, especially in the bays and narrow inlets. Sewage from vessels can potentially affect water quality and pose a risk to public health. There are 153,000 registered recreational vessels and 3,600 commercial vessels in the Puget Sound area. Because vessels move throughout Puget Sound, they can especially affect sensitive resources in Puget Sound such as shellfish growing areas, marine protected areas, aquatic reserves and public beaches. Such areas can be impacted by bacteria and pathogens in sewage.

Session Title

Policy and Management Challenges for Restoring and Protecting Water Quality in the Salish Sea

Keywords

No discharge zone, NDZ, Vessel sewage

Conference Track

SSE8: Policy, Management, and Regulations

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE8-29

Start Date

5-4-2018 2:45 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 3:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 2:45 PM Apr 5th, 3:00 PM

Puget Sound no discharge zone for vessel sewage

The Washington State Department of Ecology conducted a detailed five-year evaluation process leading to the establishment of a No Discharge Zone (NDZ) for vessel sewage in Puget Sound. The evaluation included gathering data on Puget Sound vessels, pumpout facilities, the conditions of Puget Sound, marine sanitation device performance, boater surveys, research on other states with NDZs, modeling of pollutant movement in areas of Puget Sound, an evaluation of implementation, and outreach to stakeholders. This led to a petition to EPA and for public comment. EPA reviewed our petition and in February 2017, determined that a no discharge zone can be established for Puget Sound. EPA found that there are adequate facilities in Puget Sound for vessels to pump out their sewage and Washington State may move forward with a designation. With EPA’s approval in place, Ecology conducted rulemaking to make Puget Sound off limits to vessel sewage. The rule allows five years for some commercial vessels without holding tanks to add them. Ecology took all of this input into management decisions along the way to proceed, including the geographic extent, a phase-in approach for certain vessels and implementation coordination with other agencies. The features that make Puget Sound such a stunning scenic, environmental and economic resource also make it uniquely sensitive to pollution. Its long, narrow shape limits the circulation of water, especially in the bays and narrow inlets. Sewage from vessels can potentially affect water quality and pose a risk to public health. There are 153,000 registered recreational vessels and 3,600 commercial vessels in the Puget Sound area. Because vessels move throughout Puget Sound, they can especially affect sensitive resources in Puget Sound such as shellfish growing areas, marine protected areas, aquatic reserves and public beaches. Such areas can be impacted by bacteria and pathogens in sewage.