PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) recently announced $100,000 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.
“We are proud to support the efforts of our coastal communities and marinas through these grants to improve pump-out infrastructure around the state,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “Narragansett Bay is the lifeblood of Rhode Island, and each year thousands of boaters venture out to enjoy the beauty, bounty, and tranquility of our waters. These 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.”
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 and chemicals that are toxic to humans and marine life; this pollution is also a major factor in harmful algae blooms. In 1998, Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to receive a statewide “no discharge” designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that prohibits boaters from discharging sewage into local waterways.
There are currently 16 pump-out boats and 54 land-side facilities located at 62 sites across Narragansett Bay and coastal waters. Many 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. There are nearly 40,000 registered boats in Rhode Island, and the state welcomes many visiting boats each year.
“With Earth Day approaching, we encourage all Rhode Islanders to take some time this weekend to explore the sandy shores and sparkling waterways that grace Rhode Island,” Director Coit added. “Getting out in nature is good for body and soul, and we are fortunate to have so many opportunities to enjoy our tremendous water resources – from boating to fishing to paddling on Rhode Island’s blueways.”
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% funding match is required. All facilities that receive CVA grants must be open to the public and may not charge more than $5 per 25 gallons pumped.
For more information or to download an application, visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/benviron/water/finance/clean/pdf/cvagrpro.pdf.
Applications should be mailed to DEM Office of Water Resources, 235 Promenade Street, Providence RI 02908 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 1, 2018.