The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reviewed and tentatively approved a No Discharge Zone (NDZ) for Anne Arundel County waters. The application approval has been entered in the Federal Register and a public comment period is now underway until Oct. 23.
DNR and the Maryland Department of Environment applied to the EPA for this important protection of Anne Arundel County waters in May 2020. A No Discharge Zone is an area of water where the discharge of all boat sewage–including waste treated by certified onboard Type I or II marine sanitation devices — is prohibited. Discharge of raw or untreated sewage is already prohibited anywhere within three-miles of the U.S. Coast.
Type I and II marine sanitation devices treat waste to set standards and kill pathogens before discharging the remaining effluent overboard. Most recreational boats have installed holding tanks — Type III marine sanitation devices– and can empty them at one of more than 350 pump out stations across the state. Boats with Type I or II marine sanitation devices can operate in No Discharge Zones provided the toilet — or head — is disabled while doing so.
Maryland sought NDZ designation for these waters due to a high concentration of boats, the presence of resources sensitive to boat sewage, a prevalence of water contact activities, and strong local support for added protection?.