BOSTON – Mass. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan this month announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the commonwealth’s designation of Mt. Hope Bay as a No Discharge Area.
With the EPA’s approval of the designation, the discharge of any treated or untreated boat sewage is prohibited in the area, which encompasses 9 square miles, including the Taunton River up to the Center/Elm Street Bridge on the border of Dighton and Berkley, as well as the Lee and Cole rivers up to their respective Route 6 bridges.
No Discharge Areas protect water quality and aquatic life from pathogens, nutrients and chemical products contained in discharged boat sewage and also reduce the risk of human illness, making it safer to swim, boat, fish and eat shellfish from protected waters.
The Mt. Hope Bay designation will help to ensure that the total maximum daily load standard for bacteria established by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection in July 2010 can be met. Banning the release of boat sewage also supports other local efforts to remove bacteria from these waters, including efforts by the Fall River to control the bacteria, nutrients and other pollutants associated with combined sewer overflows.
According to a news release, there will be three boat sewage pump-out facilities in accessible locations. •