We have established a Vessel Sewage No Discharge Zone (NDZ) for Puget Sound and certain adjoining waters. The NDZ is a body of water where boats may not release sewage, whether treated or not. The NDZ will help protect public health, water quality, and sensitive resources.
The Vessel Sewage No Discharge Zone (Chapter 173-228 WAC) was adopted on April 9, 2018, after a five year public process and approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The rule is effective as of May 10, 2018. However, certain commercial vessels have a five year delay before the rule begins. There is no change for graywater discharges.
Recreational boating resources
The vessel sewage rule
is effective as of May 10, 2018
for all recreational boats, and was adopted on April 9, 2018.
Most recreational boats already have holding tanks and boaters are now not allowed to discharge sewage, treated or untreated, into Puget Sound. If your boat has a toilet on board, you are required to have a marine sanitation device (MSD).
- If you have a treatment MSD (Type I or Type II), you will need to secure it in a manner which prevents discharge of treated or untreated sewage. See the Coast Guard regulations for more details. Acceptable methods of securing the device include:
- Closing the seacock and removing the handle
- Padlocking the seacock in the closed position
- Using a non-releasable wire-tie to hold the seacock in the closed position
- Locking the door to the space enclosing the toilets with a padlock or door handle key lock
An alternative to securing your device is replacing your Type I or Type II MSD with a Type III holding tank.
- If you have a toilet with a holding tank (Type III MSD) you can use the variety of pumpout facilities to pump out your sewage (see links below).
- Vessels without installed toilets must dispose of any collected sewage from portable toilets or other containment devices at facilities in a manner that complies with state law (ashore in proper facility). Don’t dump it in the water.
Where to dispose boat sewage
You can use stationary pumpouts, mobile pumpout boats, pumping services (trucks, barges), or discharge outside the NDZ following state requirements.
Find a pumpout in Washington or visit the State Parks pumpout website.
Our approach is first focused on outreach and education. We are working with partners in an NDZ Enforcement Committee and NDZ Outreach and Education Committee to help spread the word about our new rule.
However, it’s the law. Your sanitation device may be inspected and you could be fined. Ecology and the United States Coast Guard may enforce this rule by using any of the enforcement provisions in Washington's water pollution control act
or other federal provisions. In addition, other federal, state, and local agencies may provide enforcement, as authorized.