Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announced Thursday that it has awarded $75,000 in grants to seven communities and private businesses that own and/or operate pumping facilities that help boaters properly dispose of Wastewater. The grants, funded by the US Fish & Wildlife Service Clean Vessel Act (CVA), will support five projects in Narragansett Bay, a facility at Point Judith Pond and a pump boat on the Pawcatuck River. Each year, DEM applies for federal funds to purchase or replace CVA equipment used by municipalities and private marinas to provide low-cost pump-outs. Since 1994, DEM has awarded over $2 million in CVA grants.
“Most of us know that it is not fair to dump sewage directly from our boats into Narragansett Bay or the ocean. In fact, it is illegal to pump waste within three nautical miles of the Rhode Island coast,” said DEM Acting Director Terry Gray. “DEM works with municipal and maritime business partners to prevent the discharge of sewage from boats, which impairs water quality by introducing bacteria and other pathogens and chemicals harmful to humans and marine life. Support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Clean Vessel Act helps accomplish this by subsidizing pumping facilities that allow thousands of Rhode Island boaters to do their part to keep the bay and coastal waters clean.
Recent grant recipients are:
• City of South Kingstown – $18,750 to replace an existing fixed pumping system at Ram Point Marina at Pt. Judith Pond
• Newport Yacht Club – $3,000 to maintain a fixed pumping station in Newport Harbor
• Barrington Yacht Club – $1,875 for the maintenance of a fixed pumping station in Bristol Harbor
• Town of Jamestown – $1,575 to maintain two stationary pumps in Jamestown
• Town of Westerly – $13,300 for a new outboard motor for a pump boat serving the Pawcatuck River and Little Narragansett Bay
• Safe Harbor Cowesett North Yard – $18,750 to replace an existing stationary pumping system in Greenwich Bay
• Safe Harbor Cowesett South Yard – $18,750 to replace an existing fixed pump station in Greenwich Bay
There are currently 15 pump boats and 59 facilities located in Narragansett Bay and RI coastal waters. Many existing facilities require repairs and upgrades as they have exceeded their useful life since initial construction. All pumping facilities must be kept fully operational to adequately meet demand. About 40,000 boats are registered in Rhode Island, and the state welcomes several thousand more visiting boats each year. Last year, a total volume of more than 600,000 gallons of sewage was pumped into these facilities and diverted from Rhode Island’s surface waters. Visit the DEM website for a map of marine pumping facilities in Rhode Island.
New this year, DEM has partnered with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership to upload all publicly available pumping facility data to the Pump-out Nav app, available on the Android Play and iOS Apple stores. This free phone app allows boaters to locate and get directions to the nearest dump station, view information on costs and hours of operation, and report any issues encountered while using the drain installation.
In 1998, Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to receive a statewide “no discharge” designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibiting boaters from discharging sewage into local waterways.
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