Water Quality photo identifier

Water Quality Program

No Discharge Zone

Commercial Vessel Pumpout:
NEP Grant Funding Solicitation

Ecology is soliciting applications for National Estuary Program (NEP) grant funding for commercial vessel sewage disposal facilities or pumpout stations in Puget Sound. It is designed to assist in the installation of commercial pumpout stations to support sewage pumpout for certain commercial vessels.

See the Grant Fund Solicitation page for more information.

What is a No Discharge Zone or NDZ?

A No Discharge Zone (NDZ) is a designated body of water where the discharge of sewage (blackwater/toilet waste) from boats, whether treated or not, is prohibited.

Under existing federal regulations, treated sewage may be discharged anywhere in Puget Sound, and untreated sewage may be discharged as long as the boat is more than three miles from shore.

If a NDZ is established no boat, whether a freighter, a cruise ship, or a sailboat, could discharge anywhere within the designated NDZ. All boats and vessels would have to store their sewage until they could safely dispose of it at an onshore or mobile pumpout facility, or hold it until it can be discharged in the open ocean beyond 3 miles from shore. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Vessel Sewage website has more information on NDZs. More than 80 NDZs have been established in 26 states, while there are currently no NDZs in Washington State. A full listing of these NDZs is provided on EPA’s NDZ website.

Status of NDZ

Steps for NDZ

Why a NDZ

How this NDZ Affects Boaters

Why it Matters




Typical NDZ Process

A potential final petition to EPA will occur, at the earliest, in the fall of 2015.


Last updated November 2015

Why it matters

Where can I find out about available pumpout facilities?
Pumpout Station Information

We want your input on this project.
Please contact
Amy Jankowiak