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New York State's No Discharge Zones

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 (leaves DEC website).

New York State's No Discharge Zones
Coastal Waterbody Year Designated as a
No Discharge Zone
Hempstead Harbor 2008
Hudson River, water intake zones 1995
Hudson River Estuary 2003
Huntington-Northport Bay Complex 2000
Jamaica Bay 2011
Lake Champlain 1976
Lake Erie 2014
Lake George 1976
Lake Ontario 2011
Long Island Sound 2011
Mamaroneck Harbor 1997
New York State Canal System 2010
Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor 2008
Peconic Estuary 2002
Peconic Waters, East Hampton 1999
Port Jefferson Complex 2001
Seneca and Cayuga Lakes (PDF) 2015
South Shore Estuary Reserve 2009

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.