$200,000 in Federal Clean Vessel Act Funds is Now Available
PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that it is now accepting applications from public and private marinas, yacht clubs and municipalities to construct, replace, retrofit and maintain marine pump-out boats and land-based pump-out facilities. Up to $18,750 is available for each land-based facility grant, and up to $56,250 is available for each pump-out boat. Each type requires a 25 percent match. A total of $200,000 in US Fish and Wildlife Service Clean Vessel Act (CVA) funds provided to DEM is available to be awarded through this grant round.
Boaters have been prohibited from discharging sewage into Rhode Island waters since 1998, when Rhode Island became the first state in the country to receive a statewide "no discharge" designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Boat sewage can degrade water quality by introducing bacteria, pathogens and chemicals, which are harmful to humans and marine life, and by introducing nutrients that stimulate algae blooms which deplete oxygen necessary for healthy marine ecosystems.
"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."
Over the past 16 years, DEM has been educating boaters about the law, boosting efforts to enforce the law, and working to assure a sufficient number of pump-out facilities for boaters' convenience. Most of the CVA funding is now used to maintain Rhode Island's 70 pump-out facilities. 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.
To date, DEM has awarded more than $1.7 million in CVA funds for pump-out facilities to make it convenient for boaters to dispose of boat sewage properly. There are currently 16 pump-out boats and 47 land-side facilities available to boaters in Rhode Island waters. However, additional facilities are needed to serve the boats that use Rhode Island waters each year, including the approximately 40,000 registered in Rhode Island.
Applications for the current round of funding are available on DEM's website, 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.
For further information, contact Joseph Migliore in DEM's Office of Water Resources at 222-3961 ext. 7258 or via e-mail at email@example.com.