An overboard discharge (OBD) is a discharge of wastewater to rivers, streams and the ocean, rather than using a septic system or being connected to sewer lines.
Because OBDs have the potential to discharge harmful bacteria if they fail or are not properly maintained, as a precautionary measure the Maine Department of Marine Resources prohibits shellfish harvesting in the immediate vicinity of OBD outfall pipes.
After the 1970's, where properties were not within the reach of a public sewer line and did not have suitable soils for a subsurface wastewater system, OBDs were installed. Over half of the OBDs existing in 1987 have been removed.
What can landowners do?
If you have an OBD:
- Learn if your property is within the watershed of a closed mudflat
- Ensure the system is maintained and functioning
- Apply for grants to remove the OBD
More information about the history and regulation of OBDs is provided by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.