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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

No Discharge Areas

A "No Discharge Area" is a designated body of water that prohibits the discharge of treated and untreated boat sewage. Federal law prohibits the discharge of untreated sewage from vessels within all navigable waters of the United States, which include territorial seas within three miles of shore.

New Hampshire's Freshwaters

New Hampshire is one of only 14 states that enforce "No Discharge" laws for inland waters. Boats cannot contain devices that will allow for overboard discharge of boat sewage. These devices are often called "y-valves." The NHDES Boat Inspection Program Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol(Fact Sheet WD-BB-38) inspects boats with toilet facilities to ensure their compliance with the law.

New Hampshire's Coastal Waters

New Hampshire's coastal waters were recently designated as a No Discharge Area. Boats with Type I and Type II marine sanitation devices may discharge treated effluent in coastal waters UNLESS they are in a "No Discharge Area." While boating in a No Discharge Area, these marine sanitation devices must be secured to ensure overboard discharge is not occurring. This can be achieved by preventing access to the head (i.e., locking the door) or otherwise disabling the system. All Type III marine sanitation devices must discharge wastes through an approved on-shore pumpout station.

Boaters in this area will be educated about the dangers of discharging boat sewage in our sensitive coastal waters. For more information, read the sections Let's Keep Sewage out of NH Waters and Frequently Asked Questions.

The availability of sewage pumpout stations, the importance of the waterbody for human health and recreation, and the desire for more stringent protection of a particular aquatic ecosystem are important considerations in the designation of No Discharge Areas for vessel sewage.

For more information about No Discharge Areas, visit the EPA Vessel Sewage Discharge website.



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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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