Boat Sewage Dumping Banned In Florida Marine Sanctuary

Sanctuary. The very word brings to mind ideas of peace and safety, but for wildlife living in and around the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, it was anything but.

Thanks to the hard work of ocean protection organizations and activists like you, however, a new policy passed in late December 2010 means that boaters will no longer be able to discharge sewage into waters in the sanctuary.

The new government rule takes effect this month, and also expands the area where discharges are illegal. Now, sewage dumping will be prohibited within the 2,900 square nautical miles of the sanctuary.

The 3,801 square-mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary supports one of the most diverse assemblages of underwater plants and animals in North America (Friends of the Earth).

FOE also reports that “while the Florida Keys Sanctuary banned the dumping of sewage from vessels in state waters of the Sanctuary in 2002, ships were still allowed to dump barely treated sewage without limitation in 35 percent of Sanctuary waters that were federally controlled.”

Boat sewage can contain disease-causing bacteria, viruses and parasites, and contribute to the spreading of water-borne diseases, including hepatitis A, giardia, typhoid and cholera.

“This rule is another important step in restoring the water quality of the Florida Keys,” Sean Morton, superintendent of the sanctuary, told the Palm Beach Post.

“Combined with other strategies such as increased pump-out facility availability and ongoing progress in advanced wastewater treatment,” Morton continued, “this new rule brings us closer to reversing the trends of declining water quality associated with human sources of pollution.”

Related Reading:
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Salazar Proposes New Everglades National Wildlife Refuge

Image Credit: Flickr - wscottheath


Catherine A.
Past Member 2 years ago

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James J.
James J.7 years ago

Hopefully next we can outlaw the fish and birds who poop in the ocean!

Dana W.
Dana W7 years ago

Hope this is enforceable.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers7 years ago

It doesn't say much for intelligence of people who would dump toxic waste in an area like this!!

Claire A.
Claire Allen7 years ago


Philippa P.
Philippa P7 years ago

With or without a law, who in their right mind would consider dumping sewage with the borders of a santuary a good thing to do?

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

Why was it EVER allowed in or near a SANCTUARY? Glad people cared enough to make it happen. Better now than never.

Esther Lance
Esther Lance7 years ago

That is good. Better late than never, a step in the right direction.

Esther Lance
Esther Lance7 years ago

That is good. Better late than never, a step in the right direction.

Laurita Walters
Laurita Walters7 years ago

When are we going to learn that dumping our garbage in our environment is going to turn our environment into a garbage dump?