Boaters have been prohibited from discharging sewage into Rhode Island waters since 1998, but that doesn't stop every boater.
But improved pump-out facilities across the state's waterways has made it much easier to keep the bay clean and boaters from discharging waste.
The DEM, in a release, said it has money available for projects to construct, replace, retrofit and maintain marine pump-out boats as well as land based pump-out facilities: $18,750 is available for each land-based project and $56,240 is available for each pump-out boat.
“Providing conveniently located and well-maintained marine pump-out facilities has been critical to our efforts to ensure that Rhode Island boaters properly dispose of their waste,” noted DEM Director Janet Coit. “Over the years, projects funded through this program have helped reduce a major source of contamination to the state’s coastal waters, including those waters near swimming and shellfish harvesting areas. This new grant round offers a great opportunity for coastal communities and marinas to maintain or repair their existing facilities or acquire a new pump-out boat or equipment.”
Applications for the grants are available on the DEM's Web site, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on “Topics,” then “Sewage Treatment,” then “Marine Pump-outs.” They are also available at DEM's Office of Water Resources at 235 Promenade Street in Providence, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The deadline for submitting applications is May 7. DEM expects to announce selected projects and begin issuing grant agreements by May 23.
The funding falls under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Clean Vessel Act (CVA). To date, the DEM has doled out $1.7 million in CVA grants. As it stands, there are 16 pump-out boats and 47 land based facilities in Rhode Island waters. But the DEM said more facilities are needed as there are more than 40,000 registered boats in Rhode Island.
In 2011, CVA funds were used to install a new land-based facility at the Harbor Light Marina (former Lavin Marina) in Barrington. In 2012, Stone Harbour Marina in Bristol used CVA funds to replace its existing facility. These facilities are open to the public. The fee for pumping can be no more than $5 per 25 gallons pumped for all facilities funded by the CVA grant.