Southern California breaking news and trends

EPA signs ship sewage rule, no dumping within three miles from CA shore

cruise ship tiltshift san pedro

Photo by millerm217 via Flickr Creative Commons

Beach-goers can expect less sewage in the surf this season thanks to a new dumping rule that goes into effect next month.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed on Thursday a rule to keep cruise ships and other large commercial vessels from unloading sewage that's too close for coastal comfort.

Restrictions ban large ships from discharging sewage, regardless of whether it's treated, within three miles of the California coast.  Officials estimate the rule, which takes effect in March, will keep 22 million nasty gallons from mingling with state coasts every year.

Treated waste water still carries bacteria and chemicals that harm the coastal ecosystem – not to mention people.

Palo Alto state senator Joe Simitian wrote a state law banning the release of sewage sludge and water off-shore back in 2005.

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