NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at www.BoatUS.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
What the EPA is Not Telling You About Recent "No Discharge Zone" for Erie Canal
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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
June 3, 2010
What the EPA is Not Telling You About Recent “No Discharge Zone” for Erie Canal
One week ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) heralded a new “No Discharge Zone” for New York’s storied 524-mile Erie Canal System. This means “boats are banned from discharging sewage in the canals,” said the 5/27/10 EPA press release.
Since boaters reap the benefits of clean water and healthy ecosystems, we agree that the Canal System needs to be protected and preserved.
However, as the recreational boaters’ advocate, BoatUS would like to point out that there is more to the issue than what these agencies are sharing with the public. Specifically:
- Boaters have not been allowed to dump untreated sewage in the canal – or any inland waters – since the Federal Clean Water Act of 1972.
- The May 27 declaration of the Canal No Discharge Zone only addresses recreational boat (and commercial vessel) sewage that has been treated with an onboard “Type I” treatment system that treats sewage to similar to the standards found at many municipal waste treatment plants.
- Very few recreational vessels have these Type I treatment systems installed aboard their vessels — we estimate this number to be fewer that one in ten boats. Most recreational boats with bathroom facilities have a holding tank that is periodically emptied at a marina pumpout station.
Unfortunately, only a hint of this information was offered by the EPA or NYS DEC in their press announcement.
We only ask for fairness when attempting to portray recreational boating’s impact on our waterways. This is especially important when it is widely accepted that other sources of non-point pollution from agriculture, development, antiquated septic systems and municipal treatment plants have incrementally larger impacts on water quality.
-D. Scott Croft
BoatUS Public Affairs
1. EPA 5/27/10 press release: EPA and New York State Announce Ban on Boat Sewage Disposal to New York Canal System
2. EPA Clean Water Act Website:
3. About BoatUS:
BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money saving services. For more information visit www.BoatUS.com .