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Feds provide money for pumpout stations

More than $1 million in federal funds are available for boat sewage disposal facilities, or pumpout stations, on Long Island Sound for the 2015 boating season, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The program is administered by the DEEP with a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Clean Vessel Act Program. This year, Connecticut was one of several states receiving the highest grant award in the country, which helps to fund the program grants and the staff that manage statewide pumpout and boater education programs. All recreational pumpout facilities in Connecticut are now offering free service to boaters.

The DEEP is requesting grant proposals from owners and operators of public or private marine facilities that wish to install a new marine sewage disposal facilities; facilities with an existing MSDF in need of substantial repairs or upgrades; or to obtain funding to operate a new or existing MSDF, including pumpout boats and central vacuum pumpout systems which are incorporated within the marina or boatyard dock system.

"The continued success of pumpout programs for boaters significantly improves the water quality of Long Island Sound, increasing the quality of swimming, fishing and other recreational opportunities in Connecticut," DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee said. "This latest round of grant funding will allow us to continue and expand those programs -- as well to provide financial assistance to municipalities, small marine businesses and nonprofit organizations along our shoreline."

Congress passed the Clean Vessel Act in 1992 after finding that there were an inadequate number of onshore sewage disposal facilities in waters frequented by recreational boats and determining that these vessels may be contributing substantially to localized degradation of water quality. The primary goal of the CVA is to reduce overboard sewage discharge from recreational boats. The CVA provides funds to states for the construction, renovation, operation, and maintenance of pumpout stations for holding tanks and dump stations for portable toilets. Connecticut has an active program to use these federal funds to facilitate free and convenient pumpouts and dump stations.

Since 1993, DEEP has worked in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, marinas, yacht clubs, boat yards, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations to install more than 98 land-based pumpout facilities, 21 dump stations, 18 pumpout vessels and four pumpout vessels associated with marinas for a total of 141 pumpouts to accommodate the removal of recreational marine sewage from vessels to preserve and protect water quality in Long Island Sound. Since that time, all of the waters of Long Island Sound in Connecticut and New York have been designated by the EPA as a federally approved no-discharge area.

Funding for this program, known as the Clean Vessel Act program, comes from the Sport Fishing and Boating Trust Fund, which is supported by excise taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and boat fuels. The CVA Grant Program helps keep coastal waters clean and safe for recreation by safely disposing of millions of gallons of boaters' sewage annually. The Connecticut CVA program serves as a good example to many other States and has been the recipient of numerous awards for its excellence.

Up to 75 percent of the cost of an approved project may be reimbursed under the program, whose purpose is to increase the availability of proper waste handling facilities for boaters which will reduce the discharge or poorly treated or untreated sanitary wastes into the waters of Long Island Sound and its harbors, thereby helping to improve water quality.

For information, visit www.ct.gov/deep/

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