The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), along with the Severn River Association, Anne Arundel County, and the City of Annapolis, recently announced that a federally approved No Discharge Zone (NDZ) designation for 13 bodies of water in Anne Arundel County, including Annapolis Harbor, takes effect July 1, 2022.
After receiving a request for an NDZ from the Severn River Association, Anne Arundel County, and the City of Annapolis, DNR and MDE applied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for additional protection of Anne Arundel County waters in May 2020. After significant review and public comment, the NDZ is now final.
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, impairments for nutrients and sediments, and strong local support for added protection.
The complete list of waters in the NDZ is available online.
A NDZ 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 from vessels 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. About 90% of recreational boats have installed sewage holding tanks — Type III marine sanitation devices – and can empty them at one of more than 350 pumpout stations across the state.
As part of the NDZ application process. DNR and EPA determined that there are adequate pumpout facilities within the area for commercial and recreational vessels. Boats with Type I or II marine sanitation devices can operate in NDZs provided the toilet is disabled.
More information about pumpouts and complying with NDZs in Maryland is available on the DNR website. To report an NDZ violation, citizens should call MDE at 410-537-3510 (weekdays) or 866-MDE-GOTO (evenings and weekends). To report an inoperable pumpout station, citizens should email email@example.com or call 410-260-8772.