A proposal to ban boats from dumping sewage into Long Island Sound moved forward Monday, as federal officials signaled their intent to approve a "no-discharge" zone requested by New York State last year.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced its tentative determination Monday, saying that the action would reduce pollution from pathogens and chemicals in the sewage. The ban would require boats to dispose of effluent at special pump-out facilities instead of discharging it into Long Island Sound. Such a ban is in place in some North Shore waters.

The EPA was charged with determining whether 68 pump-out stations were adequate to service an estimated 12,000 recreational boats and small commercial vessels that ply Sound waters, according to the federal register. Most facilities offer the service for free or charge $5, it said.

The proposed zone encompasses about 760 square miles, including waters from Hell Gate Bridge in the western Sound to the northern bounds of Block Island Sound. The public comment period ends May 11.

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