ROCKLAND, Maine — The annual Maine Lobster Festival has been told it no longer can dump so-called gray water, such as the water used to boil the crustaceans, on the ground because of environmental laws.

A state environmental health official said the state is reminding local communities about the law because fair and festival season has begun in Maine.

Maine Lobster Festival President Brian Plourde said Thursday that for as many years as he can remember, the water from washing dishes, pots, pans and utensils simply was dumped on the ground. The water from steaming lobsters in the world’s largest lobster cooker also was dumped on the ground at the Rockland Harbor waterfront where the festival is held.

Rockland’s code enforcement officer received an email June 15 from an inspector with the division of environmental health at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services asking how the vendors at the festival dispose of their gray water. The code officer then met with festival officials.

Plourde said the food vendors who rent space at the lobster festival have storage containers, which are pumped out by a private company and taken to the wastewater treatment plant. He said the festival will have to implement such a system in the wake of being informed of the law.

The lobster festival contracts with a private company to pump out portable toilets and the same company also can pump out gray water containers, Plourde said. The festival official said he does not expect that complying with the law will add significant cost but he said that it was one more task that needed to be completed in the next few weeks.

The 68th annual Maine Lobster Festival runs from July 29 through Aug. 2 at Harbor and Buoy parks on Rockland’s downtown waterfront.

Citing the law, Rebecca Walsh, supervisor for the state’s health inspection program, said “sewage and other liquid wastes shall be removed from a mobile food or eating establishment at an approved waste servicing area or by a sewage transport vehicle in such a way that a public health hazard or nuisance is not created.”

Walsh said the inquiries to Rockland and other communities were made simply because it is the start of fair and festival season.