Rep. Bishop urges EPA to ban sewage discharges

Sep 30th, 2010 | By | Category: Long Island Sound

Congressman Tim Bishop sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency calling on the agency to swiftly approve a “No Discharge Zone” (NDZ) designation for all New York waters in Long Island Sound, as requested by the New York State Department of Environmental Protection (NYSDEC) in August.

The federal NDZ designation sought by New York State would protect the delicate ecosystem of the Sound by prohibiting boats from discharging sewage into its waters.  The harmful levels of pathogens and chemicals found in sewage have a negative effect on water quality, pose risks to the health of people fishing and bathing in the Sound, and harm marine life.

“For New Yorkers who live and work along the Sound, our heritage is tied to the health of this unique and important water body, as well as the livelihood of people who work in industries such as fishing and tourism,” Bishop wrote in the letter to Judith Enck, EPA Administrator for Region 2, which includes New York.

In his letter, Bishop notes that the Connecticut portion of the Sound has been a designated federal NDZ since 2006, and that New York has already acted to protect some portions of the Sound under its jurisdiction.  By granting NYSDEC’s current petition, EPA will ensure the full protection of Long Island Sound’s waters from sewage discharges from boats.

“Long Island Sound is a precious resource, and the boaters who enjoy it must do their part to keep it clean and safe for the enjoyment and responsible use of future generations,” Bishop said. 

Bishop has made restoring and protecting the Sound a priority of his work on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s waterways.  In this session of Congress, he introduced the Long Island Sound Improvement Act (H.R. 5876), bipartisan legislation to improve and restore water quality in Long Island Sound by providing new funding and providing regulatory tools for states and municipalities to protect waters throughout the Sound’s watershed.

The legislation, introduced with Congressman Peter King (R-Seaford), authorizes continued appropriations of $40 million for the Sound as well as new funding—$125 million in the first year, and $250 million per year thereafter—for wastewater infrastructure repair, construction, and upgrades, including stormwater systems, and green infrastructure technology and approaches.

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