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BOSTON – Gov. Deval L. Patrick last week announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the designation of all state coastal waters as a No Discharge Area, a move that will prohibit commercial and recreational vessels from releasing sewage anywhere along the coast.
The designated areas protect water quality and aquatic life from pathogens, nutrients and chemical products contained in discharged sewage and also reduce the risk of human illness, making it safer to swim, boat, fish and eat shellfish from protected waters. No Discharge Areas can also help reduce the growth of harmful algae that occurs due to high nutrient levels in sewage discharge and protect clam-fishing flats.
According to a news release, when Patrick took office in 2007, only 16 percent of state waters had been designated as No Discharge Areas. His administration had set a goal of a statewide designation by 2014. •