Online Services

Chesapeake Bay Hotline

Call 1-877-224-7229
to report any of the following

  • Boating accident or reckless activity
  • Fish kill or algal bloom
  • Floating debris that poses a hazard
  • Illegal fishing activity
  • Public sewer leak or overflow
  • Oil or hazardous material spill
  • Critical area or wetlands violation
  • Suspicious or unusual activity

Maryland's No Discharge Zones

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 two areas: Herring Bay and the Northern Coastal Bays. 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 the three-mile limit, as well as sewage treated by an approved marine sanitation device (MSD). An NDZ does not restrict the discharge of gray water.

Herring Bay and the Northern Coastal Bays were chosen as Maryland’s first NDZs for several reasons:

  • high concentration of boats
  • resources sensitive to boat sewage
  • water contact activities
  • local support for added protection

The precise locations are detailed in the Code of Maryland Regulations.


Chester River No Discharge Zone Application

December 16, 2019 EPA published a Final Affirmative Determination​ for this No Discharge Zone. Maryland will be amending state regulations spring of 2020 at which time this No Discharge Zone will be in full effect. Boaters with Type I or II marine sanitation devices who are operating in these waters will be required to secure the system to prevent their use. More details will follow.


Anne Arundel County Waters

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

In December 2019 the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources and the Environment jointly submitted the Anne Arundel County NDZ application to EPA Region III. In January 2020, EPA staff responded with a number of comments and questions. These have been addressed in the final version of the the application, below.

This version was resubmitted to EPA Region III staff May 12, 2020. It is anticipated that EPA will post a Receipt of Petition in the Federal Register​ within 90 days allowing for additional public comment.

AA County No Discharge Zone Fact Sheet

AA County No Discharge Zone Application

Comments can also be sent to:​ or or

Questions can be sent to:

Pumpouts: A Pollution Solution

Proper handling of boat sewage is an important part of restoring Maryland waterways. Adequate facilities are required to help boaters act responsibly. Maryland has one of the country’s most successful pumpout programs. Over 300 marinas are equipped with one or more units designed to handle waste from holding tanks and portable toilets. Copies of Maryland’s Pumpout Guide are available at area marinas or from the Department of Natural Resources.

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.
  • Report NDZ violations and inoperable pumpouts to state authorities.

NDZ Enforcement

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. Violators will be subject to fines up to $1,000.

Report NDZ Violations:

Maryland Department of the Environment
410-537-3510 (weekdays)
866-MDE-GOTO (evenings and weekends)

Report Inoperable Pumpouts:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
410-260-8772 (weekdays)