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DEM Announces Grant Opportunities for Marine Pump-Out Facilities

PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced $300,000 in available grants to communities and private businesses that own and/or operate boating facilities available to the public; the grants, funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Clean Vessel Act (CVA), support construction and maintenance of marine and land-based pump-out facilities to assist boaters with properly disposing of sewage. Since 1994, DEM has awarded nearly $2 million in CVA grants.

"Providing boaters with convenient access to pump-out facilities is critical to protecting our waterways and ensuring waste is properly disposed," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "We've made tremendous progress in cleaning up Narragansett Bay over the years, and these grants have been instrumental in helping to reduce a major source of contamination to the state's coastal waters. I hope our coastal communities and marinas take the opportunity with these grants to improve their existing infrastructure and/or acquire new pump-out facilities for the benefit of our boaters and the environment."

DEM continues to work with its partners to reduce pollution into local waters. Boat sewage poses a significant threat to water quality by introducing bacteria and other pathogens and chemicals that are toxic to humans and marine life; this pollution is also a major factor in harmful algae blooms. Rhode Island was the first state in the nation to receive a statewide "no discharge" designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1998 which prohibits boaters from discharging sewage into local waterways.

There are currently 16 pump-out boats and 54 land-side facilities across the state; more are needed to adequately meet the demand. Some 40,000 boats are registered in Rhode Island, and the state welcomes many visiting boats each year.

Marinas, yacht clubs, and municipalities are eligible to apply for funding; projects to construct, replace, retrofit or maintain pump-out facilities will be considered. Up to $18,750 is available for land-based projects, and up to $56,250 is available for pump-out boat facilities. A 25-percent funding match is required. All facilities that receive CVA grants must be open to the public; the fee for pumping can be no more than $5 per 25 gallons pumped.

For more information or to download an application, visit Applications should be mailed to DEM Office of Water Resources, 235 Promenade Street, Providence RI 02908 or emailed to or to All applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 27.

Follow DEM on Facebook at or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM).

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  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
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  • Release date: 05-05-2016

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