No Discharge Zones

Clean Coastal Waters and Vessel Act

New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties instituted a No Discharge Zone in coastal waters. Please see this map for the location of No Discharge Zones in these counties.

What is a No Discharge Zone?
A No Discharge Zone (NDZ) designation prohibits discharging sewage into coastal waters. This includes chemically treated sewage from Marine Sanitation Devices, but does not apply to gray water from showers or sinks, and does not prohibit the use of “porta-potties” that do not discharge waste. Through-hull fittings for disposal of sewage are required to be closed and appropriate methods to dispose of sewage implemented.

Who is affected?
The No Discharge Zone applies to all commercial and pleasure vessels operating in the waterways of New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.

How can boaters comply?
MSDs Type I, Type II and Type III must be secured to prevent discharge when operating in a No Discharge Zone. This can be done by closing the seacock and padlocking it, using a non-releasable wire tie, or removing the seacock handle (with the seacock closed). Type I and Type II can also be secured by locking the toilet door handle. Boaters must use sewage pumpout facilities to empty MSDs.

This brochure (PDF) has a map of pumpout facilities in New Hanover County.Boaters can also look for the Clean Marina flag, which identifies those marinas that have taken extra steps to help safeguard the environment and ensure the cleanliness of area waterways.

N.C. requirements
Any owner or operator of a vessel that has a Marine Sanitation Device (MSD), and is in coastal waters that are either designated as a no discharge zone or are included in a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to be designated as a no discharge zone, shall maintain a record of each pumpout of the MSD and the location of the pumpout facility. Here is a simple log to track your vessel's pumpouts.

Owners and operators of large vessel marinas (those with docking facilities and more than 10 slips for vessels of 26 feet or more that have MSDs) in these areas are also required to keep records of pumpouts and may ask to see the vessel's records. A log for marinas is available here.

Records must be maintained for one year after the pumpout date.