The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced the award of $40,000 in matching grants to help communities and businesses invest in boat pump-out facilities across Rhode Island. The grants are funded under the US Fish & Wildlife Service Clean Vessel Act (CVA) and support two projects in Narragansett Bay and one on Block Island. Since 1994, DEM has awarded more than $2 million in CVA grants.
“Over the years, projects funded with pump-out grants have been instrumental in helping to reduce a major source of contamination to the state’s coastal waters, including the bacteria that can cause shellfish closures,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “We are pleased to award these grants to improve Rhode Island’s boat pump-out infrastructure so that activities like boating and shellfishing can grow and thrive.”
The pump-grant recipients are:
Town of Bristol – $23,625 for construction of a new stationary pump-out facility and for operation and maintenance of a pump-out vessel.
Town of New Shoreham – $12,105 for two new electric pumps for mobile pump-out vessels and for operation and maintenance of pump-out vessels.
Quonset Davisville Navy Yacht Club – $4,219 for the upgrade, operation, and maintenance of an existing stationary pump-out facility.
DEM works with partners to reduce pollution into local waters. Boat sewage poses a significant threat to water quality by introducing bacteria and other pathogens that can jeopardize public health. In 1998, Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to receive a statewide “no discharge” designation from the US Environmental Protection Agency prohibiting boaters from discharging sewage into local waterways.
There are currently 15 pump-out boats and 49 landside facilities located across Narragansett Bay and RI coastal waters. Many existing facilities require repair and upgrades as they have exceeded their useful life expectancy since initial construction. All pump-out facilities must be kept fully operational to adequately meet the demand. 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 facilities and diverted from directly entering Rhode Island’s coastal waters. Visit DEM’s website for a map of marine pump-out facilities in Rhode Island.
The grants require a 25-percent funding match and funded facilities must be available to all boaters. Grant recipients may not charge more than $5 per 25 gallons pumped.
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