New Law Prohibits Sewage Dumping Into Tidal Creeks By Boaters

July 30, 2009
OPA 140/09

Correction: It is currently legal to discharge appropriately treated sewage from boats into tidal creeks with the exception of the Lynnhaven River near Virginia Beach. However, the new state law encourages the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to petition the U.S. EPA for federal designation of Virginia’s tidal creeks as “no discharge zones.”

News Highlights  

  • New law prohibits boaters from dumping treated or untreated sewage into tidal creeks.
  • Raw sewage in the waterways threatens human health and the environment.

More Information 

Under a new state law, boaters may no longer dump treated or untreated sewage or other waste into tidal creeks in Virginia. Sewage now must be collected at marinas with disposal facilities approved by the Virginia Department of Health.The law designates tidal creeks as “no discharge zones.” Marinas within these zones must post signs to alert boaters to these zones.Untreated sewage can threaten human health because it contains viruses and bacteria such as fecal coliform. Raw sewage also harms the environment as it contains large amounts of nitrogen, which encourages excessive growth of algae that starves plants and fish of oxygen.

For more information, contact the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality at 804-698-4131, TTY 711. 


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