1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Navigation
  4. Article 3: Navigable Waters of the State


Section 33-C Regulating disposal of sewage; littering of waterways

Navigation (NAV)

1. As used in this section, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

  (a) The term "watercraft" means any contrivance used or capable of being used for navigation upon water whether or not capable of self-propulsion, except passenger or cargo-carrying vessels subject to the Quarantine Regulations of the United States Public Health Service adopted pursuant to Title forty-two of the United States Code.

  (b) The term "marina" means any installation which provides any accommodations or facilities for watercraft, including mooring, docking, storing, leasing, sale, or servicing of watercraft, located adjacent to waters of the state.

  (c) The term "sewage" means all human body wastes.

  (d) The term "litter" means any bottles, glass, crockery, cans, scrap metal, junk, paper, garbage, rubbish, trash, or similar refuse.

  (e) The term "marine toilet" means any toilet on or within any watercraft, except those that have been permanently sealed and made inoperative.

  (f) The term "waters of this state" means all of the waterways, or bodies of water located within New York state or that part of any body of water which is adjacent to New York state over which the state has territorial jurisdictions on which watercraft may be used or operated.

  (g) The term "person" means an individual, partnership, firm, corporation, association, or other entity.

  (h) The term "department" means the state department of environmental conservation, except as otherwise provided in this section.

  (i) The term "marine holding tank" means any container aboard any vessel that is designed and used for the purpose of collecting and storing treated or untreated sewage from marine toilets.

  (j) The term "pumpout facility" means any device, portable or permanent, capable of removing sewage from a marine holding tank.

  2. (a) No person, whether engaged in commerce or otherwise, shall place, throw, deposit, or discharge, or cause to be placed, thrown, deposited, or discharged into the waters of this state, from any watercraft, marina or mooring, any sewage, or other liquid or solid materials which render the water unsightly, noxious or otherwise unwholesome so as to be detrimental to the public health or welfare or to the enjoyment of the water for recreational purposes.

  (b) No person, whether engaged in commerce or otherwise, shall place, throw, deposit or discharge, or cause to be placed, thrown, deposited, or discharged, any litter into the waters of this state or upon any public lands contiguous to and within one hundred feet of such waters or upon any private lands contiguous to and within one hundred feet of such waters unless such lands are owned by such person or unless such person enters or remains with the permission of the owner of record or his representative or agent.

  3. (a) No marine toilet on any watercraft used or operated upon waters of this state shall be operated so as to discharge any untreated sewage into said waters directly or indirectly.

  (b) No person owning or operating a watercraft with a marine toilet shall use, or permit the use of, such toilet on the waters of this state unless the toilet is equipped with facilities that will adequately treat, hold, incinerate or otherwise handle sewage in a manner that is capable of preventing water pollution, as required by this section.

  (c) Except as provided in subdivisions four and seven of this section, no container of sewage shall be placed, left, discharged or caused to be placed, left or discharged in or bordering any waters of this state by any person at any time.

  4. (a) Every marine toilet on watercraft used or operated upon the waters of this state shall be equipped with a pollution control device, either for the treatment or holding of sewage, in operating condition, of a type approved by the state health department, in conformance with applicable public health standards and rules and regulations; and approved by the department in conformance with the boating safety standards and rules and regulations adopted by the department. Pollution control devices shall be securely affixed to the interior discharge opening of marine toilets and all sewage passing into or through such toilets shall pass solely through such treatment facilities.

  (b) Sewage passing through a marine toilet equipped with a chlorinator or chemical treatment facility shall be deemed untreated unless the effluent meets standards established by the state commissioner of health.

  (c) The disinfecting agent used in the facility shall be of a kind which when discharged as a part of the effluent is not toxic to humans, fish or wildlife.

  (d) The active ingredient in deodorizers used in marine toilets may only consist of formaldehyde, enzymes, bacterial cultures or any other ingredient which would not interfere with the operation of sewage treatment plants. No zinc or other heavy metal or phenol may be used in any marine toilet.

  5. No marine toilet pollution control device shall be used, sold or physically offered for sale in this state unless it is of a type which has officially been approved by the department. The department approval shall be issued only after approval of such devices by the state department of health, as required by subdivision four of this section. Notice of such approval may be required by the department to be displayed on the pollution control device.

  6. The department shall require persons making application for a boat registration certificate for a watercraft pursuant to section seventy-one of the navigation law to disclose whether such watercraft has within or on it a marine toilet, and if so, to certify that such toilet is equipped with a pollution control device as required by this section. The department is further empowered to direct that the issuance of a boat registration certificate or a renewal thereof be withheld if such device had not been installed as provided in this section.

  7. The owner or whoever is lawfully vested with the possession, management or control of a marina shall be required to provide suitable trash receptacles or similar devices designed for the depositing of litter at locations where they can be conveniently utilized by watercraft users.

  8. All marinas that provide pumpout facilities and dump stations for the handling and disposal of sewage from marine holding tanks and portable toilets shall do so in a manner that will prevent the pollution of the surface waters of the state. The facilities for unloading and disposal of such sewage shall be approved by either the local or the state health department in accordance with guidelines set forth by the department in consultation with the department of health. The department of environmental conservation shall require that municipal sewage treatment facilities accept such waste originating from marine holding tanks and portable toilets unless the commissioner determines that such action would cause an unacceptable threat to human health or the environment or the operation of a sewage treatment plant.

  9. All watercraft located upon waters of this state shall be subject to boarding and inspection by the department or health department or any lawfully designated agents or inspectors thereof, for the purpose of determining whether such watercraft is equipped with approved marina toilet pollution control facilities operated in compliance herewith.

  10. Any municipality within which a vessel waste no-discharge zone has been designated pursuant to subdivision one of section thirty-three-e of this article or any municipality adjacent to which a vessel waste no-discharge zone has been designated pursuant to subdivision one of section thirty-three-e of this article, may adopt and enforce local laws, not inconsistent with section thirty-three-e of this article, prohibiting the discharge of vessel wastes in waters within such municipality, or in waters adjacent to such municipality to a distance of one thousand five hundred feet from shore. Nothing in this section shall preclude the political subdivisions of Nassau and Suffolk counties from regulating gray water discharge from residential vessels moored on tidewaters bordering on and lying within the boundaries of Nassau or Suffolk county.

  11. The department is hereby authorized and empowered to make, adopt, promulgate, amend and repeal such standards and rules and regulations as are necessary, or convenient for the carrying out of duties and obligations and powers conferred on the department by this section.

  12. A copy of the regulations adopted pursuant to this section and any of the amendments thereto, shall be filed in the office of the department, the health department, the water resources commission, and in the office of the secretary of state. Rules and regulations and standards shall be published by the department in convenient form.

  13. (a) Any person who violates paragraph (b) of subdivision two of this section, shall be guilty of an offense and upon conviction shall be punished with a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars, or by imprisonment of not more than sixty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment; provided, however, that in the event any person violates this section more than twice during the same calendar year and is convicted of more than two such violations, the third and each subsequent violation shall be deemed a misdemeanor.

  (b) Any person who violates any other provision of this section or regulations of the department adopted pursuant hereto shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished with a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment of not more than sixty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

  14. Any action taken by the department or the state department of health pursuant to subdivisions five or six of this section shall be subject to review by the supreme court in the manner provided by article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules provided that no stay shall be granted pending the determination of the matter except on notice to the department and the state department of health and for a period not exceeding thirty days.

  Proceedings to review any action enumerated herein shall be entitled to a preference.

  15. If any court shall find any subdivision or subdivisions of this section to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, such findings shall not affect the validity of any sections of this act which can be given effect.

  16. Nothing in this section, shall be deemed to repeal, amend, modify or alter the provisions of article twelve of the public health law or the provisions of sections thirty-three-a and thirty-three-b of the navigation law.