Worried about beach poopers? These places dump their treated waste in the water

While local authorities plan to add portable toilets along Old Orchard Beach to divert beachcombers reportedly pooping in the dunes, 843 Maine municipalities, residences and businesses still treat and then dump their wastewater into public waterways and the ocean.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection manages the state’s “overboard discharge” program, which regulates “discharges of sanitary and household wastewater generated at residential or commercial locations to streams, rivers, bays, and the ocean,” according to the program website.

The majority — 760 — are residential permits. Local governments or school districts hold 14 of the permits.

Use the dropdown at the bottom of the graphic below to switch between residential, commercial and government permit-holders. 

The licenses cover not just discharges from treated human waste, but also certain commercial operations, such as road salt or salt storage piles and certain farms meeting the definition of “concentrated animal feeding operations,” as outlined in the state law.


Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.