The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) recently requested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declare Puget Sound a no-discharge zone for vessel sewage in an effort to further protect the Sound and advance restoration efforts.
“Washington has made a tremendous investment in the protection and restoration of Puget Sound,” Ecology Director Maia Bellon, who made the request with backing from other state agencies, said. “This designation is an important piece of our strategy, and is a necessary step forward for one of our state’s most prized ecological treasures.”
Under current federal law, commercial and recreational vehicles can dump partially treated sewage within three miles of shore and untreated sewage beyond the three-mile point. The no-discharge designation requested by Ecology would make it illegal to dump any sewage within Puget Sound.
“Today, we affirm our commitment to the fragile Puget Sound ecosystem — the heart of our state’s economy and way of life,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said. “Declaring our sparkling Sound a no-discharge zone means we will no longer allow the efforts we’ve made to protect this critical waterway — efforts largely funded by publicly owned shellfish beds — to be needlessly poisoned.”