The Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental affairs has announced that it’s nominating the waters south of Cape Cod and around Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket a ‘no discharge zone’ – meaning that the thousands of commercial and recreational boats that crisscross Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds each year will have to store their sewage and get it pumped out when they reach shore, rather than dumping it directly into the water.
The map at top shows the new no discharge zone. But the map that really grabbed my attention is this one, to the right:
The Cape and Islands zone is essentially the last piece to come together for the Patrick administration’s goal of establishing a statewide no discharge zone. Once this new zone is enacted, just 5% of state waters – an area further offshore from Boston – will be exempt from the rules. And, of course, there’s always that pesky area of federal waters in the middle of Nantucket Sound … not much the state can do about that.
You may also have noticed a couple of blue trapezoids in the proposed Cape and Islands no discharge zone. Those are temporary exemptions for the ferries that run between Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard and from Hyannis to Nantucket. Once the Steamship Authority has completed pump-out facilities, those exemptions are supposed to go away.
Read more about the development from the Cape Cod Times.