No Discharge Zones

No Discharge Zones(NDZ) are created and administered by the Department of Environmental Quality. The Marina Program assists in their implementation by ensuring that adaquate facilities exist to handle the influx of waste from recreational vessels. A No Discharge Zone is a waterbody or an area of a waterbody into which the discharge of treated sewage from all vessels is completely prohibited. It is illegal to discharge untreated sewage from vessels in all waterbodies of the Commonwealth. In a designated No Discharge Zone, it is also illegal to discharge any treated waste from vessels equipped with Marine Sanitation Devices (MSDs) that grind, treat and discharge human sewage. U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regulations require all vessels to disable the MSD discharge capability while operating in waters designated as a NDZ. States can have all or portions of their waters designated as a No Discharge Zone for vessel sewage to address water quality issues associated with sewage contamination. There are three No Discharge Zones in Virginia. These zones are designed to give states an additional tool to:

  • protect aquatic habitats where adequate and reasonably available pump-out or dump station facilities are available for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage;
  • protect special aquatic habitats or species;
  • safeguard human health by protecting drinking water intake zones

This table lists the names of NDZ-designated water bodies, the type of designation and a link to the Federal Register Notice describing the action. NDZ designation types include:

  • 312(f)(3) protecting aquatic habitats where pump-out facilities are available;
  • 312(f)(4)(A) protecting special aquatic habitats or species; and
  • 312(f)(4)(B) protecting drinking water intake zones to protect human health.
Lower Middlesex County (f)(3) 74 FR 42070 11-17-2009
Lynnhaven River (f)(3) 72 FR 7875 2-21-2007
Smith Mountain Lake (f)(3) 65 FR 61166 10-16-2000

See the Department of Environmental Quality for more information.

See the Marina Program’s CVA Pump-out Map for details on the numbered pump-outs pictured below.

Lower Middlesex County

The Lower Middlesex County No Discharge Zone includes Broad Creek, Jackson Creek, and Fishing Bay watersheds in Middlesex County, Virginia. The Broad Creek watershed No Discharge Zone is defined as all contiguous waters south of the line formed between the points formed by latitude 37°33’46.3″ N and longitude -76°18’45.9″ W and north to latitude 37°33’47.4″ N and longitude -76°19’24.7″ W. The Jackson Creek watershed No Discharge Zone is defined as all contiguous waters west of the of the line formed between the points formed by Stove Point Neck the western point of the entrance to the eastern prong of Jackson Creek. The Fishing Bay watershed No Discharge Zone is defined as all contiguous waters north of the line formed by the southernmost tip of Bland Point and the southernmost tip of Stove Point. This area includes all of Fishing Bay and encompasses Moore Creek and Porpoise Cove.

This NDZ is located where the Piankatank River meets the Chesapeake Bay surrounding the southern boundaries of the Town of Deltaville. About 500-800 full time residents call Deltaville their home, including numerous retirees. However, in the summer months the town’s population swells to several thousand because Deltaville is known as a vacation spot for sailing, fishing, and other water-related activities. The town developed around being a large boat building area, and now the area is scattered with numerous marinas and farms.

lower middlesex county

Smith Mountain Lake

The Smith Mountain Lake No Discharge Zone includes waters above the Smith Mountain Dam upstream to the 795.0 foot contour line (normal pool elevation) in all tributaries, including waters to the confluence with Back Creek in the Roanoke River arm, and to the Brooks Mill Bridge (Route 834) on the Blackwater River arm. The lake is approximately 20,000 acres in area, forms 500 miles of shoreline, and is bordered by the Counties of Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania. Its two main tributaries are the Roanoke River and the Blackwater River, although it has other minor tributaries. It was formed in 1965 after the completion of the Smith Mountain Hydroelectric Dam and reached full pond in 1966.

Smith Mountain Lake is designated as a public water supply and must meet state water quality standards accordingly, although it is best known for its tourism and recreational opportunities including boating, fishing, swimming and waterfront activities. The area surrounding the lake contains public access areas, beaches, campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails and parks. There are many marinas and boat-launching facilities, 18 of which are equipped with pump-out stations. The lake is well known for its striped bass, large and smallmouth bass, walleye, rock bass, white bass, yellow perch, flathead catfish, crappie and bluegill. The lake now has an estimated 5,500 full-time residents living along the water and within a few miles of the shore the estimated population is nearly 14,000.

Smith Mountain Lake

Lynnhaven River

The Lynnhaven River watershed No Discharge Zone covers 64 square miles of marsh and water including 150 miles of shoreline located in the northern part of the City of Virginia Beach. It is defined as all contiguous waters south of the Lesner Bridge at Lynnhaven Inlet (36°54’27.90″N/ 76°05’30.90″W) and north of the intersection of West Neck Creek at Dam Neck Road (36°47’17.60″N/ 76°04’14.62″W) and includes the Eastern Branch, the Western Branch, and Broad Bay/Linkhorn Bay.

The Lynnhaven River is popular for a variety of activities including boating, fishing, crabbing, water skiing, and swimming. The shoreline surrounding the Lynnhaven River has many private waterfront homes as well as public access areas, marinas, boat launch facilities, waterside restaurants, and a State park. There are 6 marinas in the Lynnhaven NDZ equipped with pump-out facilities. The Lynnhaven River was also once a prime oyster harvesting area known throughout the world.  Oyster habitat restoration projects are currently being implemented.

Lynnhaven River