The Rhode Island DEM announced Tuesday that grants are available to communities and private businesses that own and/or operate boating facilities that are accessible to the public. The grants, funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Clean Vessel Act (CVA), support construction and maintenance of marine and land-based pumpout facilities to assist boaters with properly disposing of sewage. Since 1994, DEM has awarded over $2.5 million in CVA grants.
“Most of us know it’s not right to discharge wastewater directly from our boats into Narragansett Bay or the ocean. In fact, it’s illegal to pump waste within three nautical miles of the Rhode Island coast,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “DEM works with municipal and marine trades partners to prevent the discharge of boat sewage, which impairs water quality by introducing bacteria and other pathogens and chemicals that are harmful to humans and marine life. The support of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Clean Vessel Act helps accomplish this by subsidizing pump-out facilities that empower thousands of Rhode Island recreational boaters to do their part to keep the bay and our local waters clean, which are central to the Ocean State’s environment, way of life, and economy.”
Boat sewage can threaten water quality by introducing bacteria and other pathogens, excess nutrients, and chemicals that are harmful to humans and marine life. In 1998, Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to receive a statewide “no discharge” designation from the US Environmental Protection Agency that prohibits boaters from discharging sewage into local waterways.
There are currently 15 pump-out boats and 59 landside facilities located at 50 locations across Narragansett Bay and coastal waters. All pumpout facilities must be kept fully operational to adequately meet demand and help prevent sewage discharges into RI waters. Some 40,000 boats are registered in Rhode Island, and the state welcomes many thousands more visiting boats each year. Last year, a total volume of over 600,000 gallons of sewage was pumped out at these locations and diverted from entering Rhode Island’s surface waters. Visit DEM’s website for a map of marine pumpout facilities in Rhode Island.
Marinas, yacht clubs, and municipalities are eligible to apply for funding. Projects to construct, replace, retrofit, or maintain pumpout facilities will be considered. All grant awards are subject to a 25% grantee (partner) dollar match requirement. DEM will offer grant awards for eligible project costs of new and replacement land‐based facilities, and for eligible project costs of new and replacement mobile pumpout boats. Operators of mobile pumpout vessels can also apply for grant awards for eligible Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs. O&M costs eligible for reimbursement include hull painting; engine, pump, and trailer maintenance; insurance of pumpout vessels; fuel and oil; winterization; storage; launching and hauling; boat safety equipment, and personal protective equipment. DEM also offers grant awards to operators of land-based pumpout stations for eligible O&M costs. O&M costs eligible for reimbursement include periodic maintenance; winterization; spring commissioning; replacement parts; and repair of sewer connections.
All applications must be submitted via the state Grant Management System (eCivis), located here. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2024 season through Dec. 31, 2024. Additional information can be found on DEM’s website. For more information, please contact Steven Engborg at (401)-222-4700 x2777259 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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