PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) recently awarded $178,849 in matching grants to help communities and businesses invest in boat pump-out facilities across Rhode Island.
The grants, funded under the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Clean Vessel Act (CVA), support 10 projects in nine Rhode Island communities. Since 1994, DEM has awarded more than $2 million in CVA grants.
The grant recipients are:
Avondale Boat Yard – $15,971 (Pawcatuck River, Westerly) Repair/replace an existing fixed-based pump-out station
Bowen’s Wharf Marina – $15,000 (East Passage, Newport) Repair, replace and maintain equipment on existing fixed-based pump-out station
Malabar Holdings – $17,355 (East Middle Bay, Portsmouth) Replace fixed-based pump-out station
Town of Bristol – $21,965 (Bristol Harbor, Mount Hope Bay, Kickemuit River, Bristol) Perform pump-out boat rehabilitation and replace fuel tank
Town of Jamestown – $2,160 (East and West Ferry, Jamestown) Purchase replacement parts and perform maintenance on fixed-based pump-out station
Town of Jamestown – $9,375 (East Ferry, Jamestown) Relocate existing pump-out facility due to reconfiguration of wharf and parking lot
Town of Middletown – $20,688 (East Passage, Third Beach Mooring Area, Middletown) Replace engine on harbor master/pump-out boat
Town of New Shoreham – $56,250 (Old Harbor, Block Island) Purchase a new 19′ pump-out boat
Town of North Kingstown – $10,710 (Allen Harbor, North Kingstown) Install a new fixed-based pump-out system to replace existing system
Town of Warren – $9,375 (Warren River, Town Wharf, Warren) Replace fixed-based pump-out station
Discharge of boat sewage poses a significant threat to public health by introducing bacteria and other pathogens into our waters. Boat sewage also contains nutrients that can deplete oxygen in the water and harm fish and other aquatic animals, and may contain cleaners and chemical products that are toxic to marine and estuarine life.
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 boats from discharging sewage into local waterways. There are currently 15 pump-out boats and 52 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.
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 30 gallons pumped.