SEATTLE -

A new rule proposed by the state Department of Ecology would prevent vessels from dumping raw or partially treated sewage in Puget Sound.

The Seattle Times reports that the regulation would require any vessel with a permanent toilet to store its waste until it could be pumped ashore. Boats can currently dump raw sewage in Puget Sound if they are 3 miles from shore. Partially treated sewage can be dumped overboard from anywhere, even at the dock.

But the ecology department's Northwest Regional Director, Josh Baldi, says onboard treatment systems aren't sufficient and the sewage could make people sick.

Baldi says there is a five-year grace period for tugs, commercial vessels and even some National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries vessels to make the changes necessary to meet the new standards.