Overview of Pollutant Disposal Laws
It is illegal to discharge waste, oil, or trash into any state or federally controlled waters. This is for very good reasons.
- Sewage carries disease and other pollutants that are harmful to people, aquatic plants, and animals.
- Untreated discharge from just one weekend boater has as much bacterial pollution as the treated sewage of 10,000 people.
- Human sewage and garbage harm wildlife and kill fish.
- Human sewage can transmit diseases like hepatitis, typhoid, and cholera to swimmers.
- Over time, water from lakes and rivers seeps into groundwater—the water we drink.
- Trash thrown into the water can injure swimmers and wildlife alike. It also can plug engine cooling water intakes.
- Pollution is unsightly and takes away from your enjoyment of the water.
Vessel operators need to be aware of the following regulations for waste, oil, and trash disposal that apply to both federally controlled and state waters. The Refuse Act prohibits throwing, discharging, or depositing any refuse matter of any kind (including trash, garbage, oil, and other liquid pollutants) into the waters of the United States.