No Discharge Zones being considered for Gloucester waterways

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Aug 15, 2012 - 12:42 PM
In an effort to help make local waterways cleaner, Gloucester’s Clean Community has been working to establish No Discharge Zones (NDZ) in the area’s rivers and creeks. The committee got the formal go-ahead from the county’s board of supervisors during its meeting Aug. 7 in the colonial courthouse to continue moving forward with the project.
 
An NDZ prohibits the discharge of human sewage, treated or non-treated, from boats in specified public waters. If NDZs are established locally, boaters will no longer be able to empty onboard marine sanitation devices from their vessels, a practice which is currently allowed in the county waterways, according to Phil Olekszyk, spokesperson for the Go Green Committee.
 
The Gloucester committee is currently working with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to complete the in-depth research and work to support the NDZ designation.
 
Under an NDZ designation, only the U.S. Coast Guard will enforce penalties of violations against the NDZ, Olekszyk said. If a Virginia Marine Resources Commission officer comes across a violation, he or she will investigate the incident, but will ultimately turn it over to the Coast Guard for final action.
 
Olekszyk showed a map of current creeks where harvesting shellfish is banned because pollution is high enough to make the taking of shellfish unhealthful. This is due, he said, mostly to fecal coliform discharges.