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New Rules For Boaties From Saturday

29 June 2000 Media Statement


New rules on the discharge of untreated sewage from boats will apply from Saturday, July 1, the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, said today.

The Resource Management (Marine Pollution) Regulations, governing the discharge of untreated sewage from all types of boats, have been in force since 1998.

But, the Government gave boaties two year's grace so they could decide if they needed to fit equipment on their boats.

"That period is now at an end," Marian Hobbs said. "From Saturday it is illegal to discharge untreated sewage into the sea from your ship (or offshore installation), unless you are more than 500 metres from the shore, more than 500 metres from a marine farm and in waters that are deeper than 5 metres."

Ms Hobbs also warned boaties to check the rules with their regional council because councils can increase these distances through their regional coastal plans.

"The regulations apply to all sizes of vessels - small or large - but how you comply is up to you, and will depend on the type of sailing you do," she said. "For example owners of commercial vessels, and larger boats carrying several passengers for long periods may want to fit a holding tank or treatment system. That would mean you could use your toilet while sailing in the restricted areas. Smaller boats sailing with ready access to the shore may not need to fit equipment to comply with the Regulations. Where pump out facilities are available, holding tanks should be emptied into these."

The regulations were introduced to provide for better protection of the marine environment. Some popular coastal areas are becoming polluted at certain times of the year from sewage from boats. In some cases there is a risk for people wanting to swim or gather shellfish, not to mention being highly unpleasant for all, Marian Hobbs said.

The regulations also control the discharge of garbage, oil and noxious liquid substances, the dumping of waste and incineration at sea.

Information on the sewage regulations is available from the Ministry for the Environment, PO Box 10362 Wellington or via the website:


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