Added Protection for Sensitive Waters
No Discharge Zones are established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, upon petition by a state.
Learn more about the designation process here.
Maryland has taken an extra step towards protecting sensitive waterways by working with the Environmental Protection Agency to designate No Discharge Zones (NDZs) in several areas noted below. A No Discharge Zone is an area of water where the discharge of all boat sewage is prohibited. This includes raw sewage, which is prohibited anywhere within three-miles of the U.S. Coast, as well as sewage treated by Type I or II marine sanitation devices (MSD). An NDZ does not restrict the discharge of gray water. Maryland chose to seek NDZ designation for these waters for several reasons:
- high concentration of boats
- resources sensitive to boat sewage
- water contact activities
- local support for added protection
Northern Coastal Bays, including the tidal waters of Ocean City Inlet, Sinepuxent Bay, Isle of Wight Bay, Assawoman Bay, and their tributaries.
Chester River and its Tributaries
The precise locations are detailed in the
Code of Maryland Regulations.
Pending Completion in 2022
Anne Arundel County Waters
May 11, 2021 a Final Determination approving Maryland's request to establish a No Discharge Zone was published in the Federal Register.
Proposed state regulations updates to make this NDZ effective were published in the
Maryland Register February 25, 2022. Public comments will be accepted through March 28, 2022 to Ms. Donna Morrow at 410-260-8773 or
If approved, the regulations will become effective July 1, 2022.
In 2018-2019 the Severn River Association drafted a No Discharge Zone application that would apply to all waters within Anne Arundel County. The application has the support of the Annapolis Mayor and City Council and the Anne Arundel County Executive and Council.
Public meetings were held on the proposal:
- August 14, 2019: 7 - 8 PM Pip Moyer Recreation Center Meeting Room , 273 Hilltop Ln, Annapolis, MD 21403
- August 19, 2019: 7 - 8 PM Anne Arundel County Police Department Southern District, 35 Stepneys Ln, Edgewater, MD 21037
- August 22, 2019: 7 - 8 PM Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Department located at 161 Ritchie Highway Severna Park, MD 21146
The application below was submitted to EPA Region III staff May 12, 2020.
AA County No Discharge Zone Fact Sheet
AA County No Discharge Zone Application
Maps 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 do not display properly in the PDF of this document. To request a hard copy of a map, please contact
Complying with NDZ Regulations
When navigating within an NDZ:
Secure Type I and Type II MSDs (treat and release systems). Acceptable methods to secure these systems include locking the door to the head or disabling the seacock.
Use the available pumpout facilities located at nearby marinas to empty Type III systems (holding tanks) and portable toilets.
Cooperation by boaters is the key to successful implementation of No Discharge Zones. Please respect restrictions in these areas and encourage other boaters to do so. By state regulation, MDE’s Compliance Program has primary responsibility for enforcement of NDZ regulations. DNR Natural Resources Police will assist MDE in investigating violation reports and will issue citations when necessary. Both agencies have agreed that a warning will be issued for first violations, with citations issued for subsequent offenses.
MDE has a number of enforcement provisions including criminal, civil, and administrative actions. Civil penalties are up to $10,000 per violation per day for water pollution. It is anticipated that most of their enforcement actions will come from violations reported by a number of sources, including the Natural Resources Police, local health agencies, marina owners, and boaters.
Report NDZ Violations:
Maryland Department of the Environment
866-MDE-GOTO (evenings and weekends)
Report Inoperable Pumpouts:
Maryland Department of Natural Resources