Don’t be dumping your doings overboard is a message from the state of Alaska to fishing vessel operators.

A letter sent out by the Department of Environmental Conservation reminds fishermen that it is illegal to dump sewage within three miles from shore.

DEC Commissioner Jason Brune had this to say to KDLG in Dillingham:

“It is common practice obviously for folks to use a honey bucket on their boat and to just throw it overboard. There is no doubt it is an ongoing practice. So we are working to educate folks operating in our waters about the clean water act. I would encourage folks to think about the water in general, think about being good stewards and to bring that to our proper disposal on shore.”

Dumping sewage violates the Clean Water Act and can net you a fine up to $2,000. Brune’s letter also says the dumpings damage the nearshore environment by contaminating shellfish beds and fish habitat and can spread diseases to other people.

All boats with onboard bathrooms must use Coast Guard approved sanitation devices with storage tanks that are emptied at a pump station or beyond three miles.

Boats with honey buckets also can use the pump stations or bag style camp toilets that can be sealed and disposed of at approved collection areas.

Along with the dangers of contamination, Brune points out that dumping stinky sewage in nearby waters simply sends the wrong message about caring for our waters.

“We have environmental standards that we want to hold folks to.  To make sure that we’re being protective of our marine resources, of our fish and of the environment that we love here in Alaska.”

Thanks to the assist from KDLG.