[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 57 (Thursday, March 24, 2016)]
[Pages 15702-15705]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-06701]



[FRL-9944-20-Region 2]

New York State Prohibition of Discharges of Vessel Sewage; Notice 
of Proposed Determination

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of proposed determination.


SUMMARY: By petition dated September 20, 2012 and submitted pursuant to 
33 CFR 1322(f)(3) and 40 CFR 140.4(a), the State of New York certified 
that the protection and enhancement of the waters of the New York State 
portion of the St. Lawrence River and the numerous navigable 
tributaries, harbors and embayments thereof, requires greater 
environmental protection than the applicable Federal standards provide, 
and petitioned the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 
Region 2, for a determination that adequate facilities for the safe and 
sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are 
reasonably available for those waters, so that the State may completely 
prohibit the discharge from all vessels of any sewage, whether treated 
or not, into such waters. On April 22, 2013, the EPA requested 
additional information regarding the population of commercial vessels 
using the subject waters and the availability of options for sewage 
removal from those vessels. Upon consideration of the petition, and 
subsequently obtained information regarding commercial vessels that has 
been made part of the administrative record, the EPA proposes to make 
the requested determination and hereby invites the public to comment.

DATES: Comments relevant to this proposed determination are due by 
April 25, 2016.
    Petition: To receive a copy of the petition and/or any other part 
of the administrative record, please contact Moses Chang at 212 637 
3867 or email at [email protected].

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Email: [email protected]. Include ``Comments on Proposed 
Determination on New York State portion of St. Lawrence River NDZ 
Petition'' in the subject line of the message.
     Mail and Hand Delivery/Courier: Moses Chang, U.S. EPA 
Region 2, 290 Broadway, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10007-1866. Deliveries 
are only accepted during the Regional Office's normal hours of 
operation (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding federal 
holidays), and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of 
boxed information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Moses Chang, (212) 637-3867, Email 
address: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Proposed No Discharge Zone: The proposed 
Vessel Waste No Discharge Zone (NDZ) for the New York State portion of 
the St. Lawrence River includes the waters of the River within the New 
York State boundary, stretching from its southwestern boundary at 
Tibbetts Point, where the river meets Lake Ontario, to its northeastern 
boundary at the St. Lawrence-Franklin County Line, near Akwesasne, New 
York.\1\ The proposed NDZ encompasses approximately 112 miles of river 
and shoreline, and the numerous navigable tributaries, harbors, and 
embayments of the River--including, but not limited to, the New York 
State portions of the Raquette River, the Grass River, Brandy Brook, 
Sucker Brook, Whitehouse Bay, Oswegatchie River, Morristown Bay, Blind 
Bay, Chippewa Creek, Chippewa Bay, Crooked Creek, Goose Bay, Lake of 
the Isles, Eel Bay, South Bay, Carnegie Bay, Greens Creek, Otter Creek, 
Swan Bay, Spicer Bay, Carrier Bay, French Creek Bay, Sawmill Bay, Sand 
Bay, Dodge Bay, Millen Bay, Peos Bay and Grass Bay--and other formally 
designated habitats and waterways of local, state and national 

    \1\ New York State's petition proposes to establish a NDZ that 
extends, in the northeast, to the U.S.-Canadian border. However, New 
York State's jurisdiction over waters of the St. Lawrence River 
ends, in the northeast, at the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation border 
at the St. Lawrence-Franklin county line. Therefore, New York State 
does not have the authority under the Clean Water Act to establish a 
NDZ for the 2.9 miles of the St. Lawrence River that lie within the 
United States, between the St. Lawrence-Franklin county line and the 
U.S.-Canadian border. Accordingly, this tentative determination only 
regards the approximately 112 miles of the St. Lawrence River over 
which New York State has jurisdiction.

    Certification of Need: New York's petition contains a certification 
by the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental 
Conservation (NYSDEC) that the protection and enhancement of the New 
York State portion of the St. Lawrence River and the numerous navigable 
tributaries, harbors and embayments thereof, requires greater 
environmental protection than the applicable Federal standards provide. 
The certification states that the subject waters are of unique 
ecological, economic and public health significance, and that pathogens 
and chemicals contained in the currently-lawful effluent from 
discharging marine sanitation devices (MSDs) threaten public health and 
the environment and contravene the State's ongoing efforts to control 
point and non-

[[Page 15703]]

point source pollution from, among other things, municipal discharges, 
combined sewer overflows and stormwater runoff.
    In support of the certification, the Commissioner notes that the 
St. Lawrence River supports a diversity of uses, including providing 
drinking water for approximately 17,000 people in New York, valuable 
wildlife habitat, a commercial shipping corridor, recreational boating 
and numerous sites for aquatic recreation. The River serves as an 
economic engine for the region, and is heavily used and enjoyed by the 
citizens of the many lakeshore communities and throughout the 
watershed. The River is also home to the Thousand Islands Region, an 
international tourism destination encompassing communities on both 
sides of the U.S. and Canadian border along the River and the eastern 
shores of Lake Ontario. While New York acknowledges that a No Discharge 
Zone designation alone will not obviate the need for other water 
quality improvement efforts, a NDZ for the St. Lawrence River would 
complement the benefits of the State's other efforts to protect and 
improve water quality in the River.
    Adequacy of Sewage Removal and Treatment Facilities: In determining 
whether adequate facilities exist for the safe and sanitary removal and 
treatment of sewage from all vessels using a water body, the EPA relies 
on the ``Clean Vessel Act: Pumpout Station and Dump Station Technical 
Guidelines,'' (CVA Guidelines) published by the U.S. Department of the 
Interior, which provides that at least one pumpout station should be 
provided for every 300 to 600 vessels over 16 feet in length. See 59 FR 
11297. The guidelines also provide that approximately 20% of vessels 
between 16 and 26 feet, 50% of vessels between 26 and 40 feet and all 
vessels over 40 feet in length can be assumed to have an installed 
toilet with some type of Marine Sanitation Device (MSD). Vessels below 
16 feet in length are generally presumed not to have an MSD onboard.

Estimated Recreational Vessel Population

    There is no single definitive source of information on the number 
of vessels, or vessels with MSDs, that frequent the St. Lawrence River. 
The number and distribution fluctuates depending on the time of year, 
day of the week, weather conditions and special events. In order to 
develop a reasonable estimate of recreational vessel population, New 
York relied on two major sources of information. The first was the New 
York Department of State's (DOS's) Clean Vessel Act Plan (``Statewide 
Plan''), released in 1996. The purpose of the plan was to characterize 
pumpout adequacy across New York State. From August 1994 to July 1995, 
DOS surveyed municipalities to assess the availability of public sewage 
pumpout facilities. Many private marina operators were also contacted. 
Private pumpouts and dump stations were initially estimated from the 
NYSDEC and New York Sea Grant boating guides, augmented with 
information on vessel registration, aerial photographs of peak season 
use and local plans and studies. Using data from the Statewide Plan, 
the estimated number of recreational vessels in Jefferson and St. 
Lawrence Counties, which border the St. Lawrence River, is a total of 
3,775 vessels (3,170 and 605, respectively).
    The second, and more recent, source for information about the 
recreational vessel population in the proposed NDZ is the New York 
State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's 2012 
Boating Report (OPRHP Report) for the counties of Jefferson and St. 
Lawrence, which encompass the proposed NDZ. The OPRHP Report provides a 
breakdown of the of the vessel registrations by vessel length for each 
county. Applying the CVA Guidelines, above, on the relationship between 
vessel length and MSDs to the data in the OPRHP Report yields an 
estimate of 2,611 vessels with MSDs registered in Jefferson and St. 
Lawrence counties, all of which, conservatively, were assumed to 
operate on the St. Lawrence River.

Available Pumpout Facilities to Recreational Vessels

    The federal Clean Vessel Act of 1992 made grants available to 
states for construction, replacement and renovation of recreational 
vessel pumpouts. The NYSDEC applied for the first federal grant in 1994 
and initiated a statewide program known as the Clean Vessel Assistance 
Program (CVAP), managed and administered by the New York State 
Environmental Facilities Corporation (NYSEFC). The NYSEFC provides 
three distinct grant programs: CVAP Construction Grants (for new 
installations or replacement), CVAP Upgrade Grants (for improvements to 
existing pumpouts) and CVAP Operation & Maintenance Grants (for annual 
upkeep of pumpouts). The NYSEFC also provides funding for information 
and education on the benefits, use and availability of pumpouts. New 
York's petition listed 22 currently operating stationary CVAP pumpout 
facilities that serve the St. Lawrence River in Jefferson and St. 
Lawrence counties in the state, but the EPA's review has determined the 
number to be 21. These facilities are summarized in Table 1, below.

Ratio of Pumpout Facilities-to-Recreational Vessels

    In calculating the ratio of pumpout facilities-to-vessels, only 
CVAP-funded facilities were considered. (If all pumpout facilities 
(CVAP and non-CVAP) are considered, the ratios would show even greater 
coverage.) This calculation shows that overall, within the proposed St. 
Lawrence River NDZ, there are an adequate number of stationary pumpout 
facilities to support the proposed NDZ, with a pumpout-to-vessel ratio 
as high as 1:180 (using the estimate of 3,775 vessels from the 1996 
CVAP Statewide Plan) and as low as 1:119 (using the estimate of 2,611 
registered vessels from the 2012 OPRHP Report). By either of the 
methods discussed above, there are currently sufficient pumpout 
facilities to meet the upper/maximum 1:600 ratio, and both ratios fall 
well below the lower/minimum 1:300 ratio used to determine adequacy of 
pumpout facilities.

Adequacy of Available Pumpout Facilities to Commercial Vessels

    Commercial vessel populations were estimated using data from the 
National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC), which records 
ballast water discharge reports for ships arriving at the two main 
commercial ports on the St. Lawrence River (U.S. side)--Ogdensburg and 
Massena. In calendar year 2011, ballast manifests showed eight vessels 
arriving in Ogdensburg and one in Massena. These vessels were either 
bulkers or passenger cruise ships. Most passenger cruise ships using 
ports in the proposed NDZ are smaller, chartered site-seeing boats, but 
this commercial traffic also includes two cruise passenger vessels (the 
St. Laurent and Pearl Mist), which can hold 200 to 300 passengers each. 
In calendar year 2010, there were four commercial arrivals at 
Ogdensburg and seven at Massena. Overall, at both ports combined, 
annual commercial traffic averages approximately one vessel per month. 
While other commercial vessels move through the proposed NDZ, they do 
not stop at the main commercial ports.
    Commercial vessels in the proposed NDZ that are too large to use a 
CVAP stationary pumpout facility may dock at either commercial port, 
and call a mobile septic waste hauler (pumpout truck) to meet the 
vessel and provide pumpout services at the dock. There are

[[Page 15704]]

at least four mobile septic waste hauling companies with trucks that 
have the capacity to pumpout and transfer a combined total of 36,400 
gallons of sewage to a local sewage treatment plant. Based on the low 
level of commercial vessel traffic using the ports in the proposed NDZ, 
and the transience of these vessels, the availability of four septic 
hauler pumpout truck companies provides adequate pumpout capacity for 
commercial vessels. These services are summarized in Table 2, below.

   Table 1--List of Stationary Sewage Pumpout Facilities Serving Vessels in the Proposed St. Lawrence River No
                                                 Discharge Zone
                                 Location lat./        Contact        * Days and hours  Water depth
  Number       Marina name           long.           information        of operation       (feet)        Fee
1........  Navy Point Marina.  Black River Bay,   315-646-3364, VHF- May 1-November              10        $0.00
                                43.950172/-        Channel 9.         30, 8:00 a.m. to
                                76.120633.                            5:00 p.m.
2........  Kitto's Marina....  Chaumont Bay,      315-639-6043, 315- April-October 15,            7         5.00
                                44.003881/-        639-6922.          8:00 a.m. to
                                76.171825.                            7:00 p.m.
3........  Henchen Marina....  Henderson Bay and  315-345-4294, VHF- April 1-October              8        10.00
                                Harbor,            Channel 16.        31, 7:00 a.m.-
                                43.862222/-                           8:00 p.m.
4........  Village of          Morristown Bay,    315-375-8822.....  May 1-October 30,            6         5.00
            Morristown--Baysi   44.585944/-                           Dawn to Dusk.
            de Park.            75.650281.
5........  Spicer Marina       Spicer Bay,        315-686-3141, VHF- May 1-October 15,            8         5.00
            Basin.              44.255990/-        Channel 16.        8:00 a.m.-6:00
                                76.036610.                            p.m.
6........  Northern Marine,    Spicer Bay,        315-686-4398, VHF- April 1-September            8         5.00
            Inc..               44.257500/-        Channel 16.        30, 9:00 a.m.-
                                76.035833.                            6:00 p.m.
7........  French Bay........  French Creek Bay,  315-686-5574, VHF- April 1-November             8         3.00
                                44.234444/-        Channel 16.        15, 8:00 a.m.-
                                76.090833.                            5:00 p.m.
8........  Madison Barracks    Black River Bay,   315-646-3374.....  May 15-October              10         0.00
            Marina.             43.953333/-                           15, 8:00 a.m.-
                                76.113333.                            6:00 p.m.
9........  French Creek        French Creek Bay,  315-686-3621, VHF- April 15-October             8         2.00
            Marina--North.      44.235160/-        Channel 16.        15, 8:00 a.m.-
                                76.089050.                            5:00 p.m.
10.......  French Creek        French Creek Bay,  315-686-3621, VHF- April 15-October             4         2.00
            Marina--South.      44.232689/-        Channel 16.        15, 8:00 a.m.-
                                76.086183.                            5:00 p.m.
11.......  Harbor's End, Inc.  Henderson Bay and  315-938-5425, VHF- April 1-November           4.5         5.00
                                Harbor,            Channel 67.        1, 8:00 a.m.--
                                43.849083/-                           4:30 p.m.
12.......  Chaumont Yacht      Black River Bay,   315-523-5055.....  April 15-November       6.5'-7         0.00
            Club.               44.063200/-                           1, 7:00 a.m.-
                                76.131360.                            5:00 p.m.
13.......  Bonnie Castle       Alexandria Bay,    315-482-2526, VHF- May15-October 15,         5'-6         5.00
            Yacht Basin.        44.342780/-        Channel 16.        8:00 a.m.-7:00
                                75.911980.                            p.m.
14.......  Hutchinson's Boat   Alexandria Bay,    315-482-9931.....  April-October,               6         0.00
            Works, Inc..        44.334053/-                           8:00 a.m.-5:00
                                75.920244.                            p.m.
15.......  RJ Marine           French Creek Bay,  315-686-9805.....  April-October,              11        15.00
            Associates, Ltd..   44.239989/-                           7:00 a.m.-7:00
                                76.090391.                            p.m.
16.......  City of Ogdensburg  Ogdensburg         315-393-1980, VHF- May 1-October 15,           11         5.00
                                44.700478/-        Channel 16.        8:00 a.m.-8:00
                                75.495156.                            p.m.
17.......  Cedar Point State   Alexandria Bay,    315-654-2522, VHF- Memorial Day to         3 to 4         5.00
            Park.               44.204810/-        Channel 16.        Labor Day, 7:30
                                76.196740.                            a.m.-8:00 p.m.
18.......  Village of          Lisbon-            315-388-5534.....  April-November,            3-4         5.00
            Waddington--Islan   Waddington,       None.............   24 Hours.
            d View Park.        44.865264/-
19.......  Millens Bay Marina  Cape Vincent,      315-654-2174, VHF- April-November,              8         5.00
                                44.171790/-        Channel 16.        8:00 a.m.-7:00
                                76.244780.                            p.m.
20.......  Village of          St. Lawrence       315-388-5534.....  April-November,              8         5.00
            Waddington--Whita   River, 44.867821/ None.............   24 Hours.
            ker Park Dock.      -75.193852.
21.......  Blind Bay Marina    Chippewa Bay,      315-322-3762.....  May 15-September             5         5.00
            Corp..              44.477440/-       None.............   15, 7:00 a.m.-
                                75.776520.                            10:00 p.m.
* Please note that the actual days of operation depend on the weather.

[[Page 15705]]

                  Table 2--List of Mobile Sewage Pumpout Services Serving Vessels in the Proposed St. Lawrence River No Discharge Zone
                                      Location and contact     Number of sewage      Days and hours of       Hose fittings &       Truck       fee/cost
   Number        Name of company          information       hauler pumpout trucks/       operation            length (feet)      serves the   per 1,000
                                                               holding capacity                                                  port area       gal
1...........  Pomerville's Septic    27440 Ridge Road,      2 trucks--1 x 4,600    Mon-Fri, 7:00 a.m.-    Flexible up to 250            Yes         $225
               Service.               Watertown, NY 13601,   gal and 1 x 2,500      5:00 p.m.; or by       ft.
                                      Tel. 315-782-6056.     gal.                   appointment.
2...........  Gleason's Septic       Route 3, Black River,  3 trucks--2 x 2,500    Mon-Fri, 7:00 a.m.-    Flexible up to 175            Yes          250
               Service.               NY 13612, Tel. 315-    gal and 1 x 4,400      3:00 p.m.; or by       ft.
                                      773-4135.              gal.                   appointment.
3...........  Bach & Co............  11176 County Road 9,   1 truck x 1,500 gal..  Mon-Fri, 7:00 a.m.-    Flexible up to 100            Yes          250
                                      Clayton, NY 13624,                            5:00 p.m.; or by       ft.
                                      Tel. 315-686-3083.                            appointment.
4...........  Gilco Trucking Co....  20892 NYS Route 411,   2 trucks x 9,200 gal.  Mon-Fri, 7:00 a.m.-    Flexible up to 250            Yes           NA
                                      P.O. Box 112,                                 5:00 p.m.; or by       ft.
                                      LaFargeville, NY                              appointment.
                                      13656, Tel. 315-658-

    Based on a total recreational vessel population of 3,775 and 21 
currently available pumpout facilities, the ratio of vessels to 
pumpouts is 180:1, which means there are significantly more pumpouts 
than the recommended range of 300-600:1. Also, based on the low level 
of commercial vessel traffic (approximately one vessel per month) at 
the two St. Lawrence River commercial ports and the transience of these 
vessels, the availability of four septic hauler pumpout truck companies 
provides adequate pumpout capacity for vessels that are too large to 
use the stationary pumpout facilities. Therefore, the EPA proposes to 
issue a determination that adequate pumpout facilities for the safe and 
sanitary removal and treatment of sewage for all vessels are reasonably 
available for the waters of the New York portion of the St. Lawrence 
    A 30-day period for public comment has been opened on this matter 
and the EPA invites any comments relevant to its proposed 
determination. If, after the public comment period ends, the EPA makes 
a final determination that adequate facilities for the safe and 
sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are 
reasonably available for the waters of the New York State portion of 
the St. Lawrence River, the State may completely prohibit the discharge 
from all vessels of any sewage, whether treated or not, into such 

    Dated: March 4, 2016.
Judith A. Enck,
Regional Administrator, Region 2.
[FR Doc. 2016-06701 Filed 3-23-16; 8:45 am]