TALLAHASSEE – This week the Florida Department of Environmental
Protection’s (DEP) Clean Vessel Act (CVA) grant program launched a new
Pitch In-Pump Out, to inform marinas and boaters about keeping Florida’s
waterways clean through proper disposal of boater sewage. Boaters should use
pumpout stations at marinas and boat ramps or have their boats serviced by a
pumpout boat. Marinas can do their part by installing pumpouts for boaters to
use and by operating pumpout boats.
Captain Rick Murphy, the official spokesperson for Pitch In-Pump Out,
is a well-known Florida sportsman and host of Sportman’s Adventures with
Captain Rick Murphy on SunSports. He will be featured on television and
radio ads airing statewide spreading the message to pitch in and pump out.
“We are very excited to begin this campaign with Captain Rick Murphy and
encourage boaters and marinas to be active in protecting Florida’s waterways,”
said DEP Interim Secretary Mimi Drew. “It is important that boaters know how to
properly dispose of sewage, and that marinas know about the grant money
available right now to help them purchase and operate pumpout equipment.”
Marine facilities can take advantage of CVA grants that reimburse 75 percent
of the total costs of approved pumpout projects, leaving the marina responsible
for only 25 percent of the total in matching funds. To offset out of pocket
expense, the program also allows facilities to count in-house labor costs and
pumpout boat trade-in values toward meeting the required match. With an average
cost of $12,000 – $75,000, pumpout projects allow sewage to be removed from a
boat and then disposed of through established treatment procedures.
The remodeled Pitch In-Pump Out website,
easy access to all grant application forms and clear, easy-to-follow steps
through the application process as well as an online application for marinas.
The site also provides tips for boaters on proper pumpout techniques and a
listing of pumpout stations in Florida.
With more than 2,000 marinas, Florida has the largest number of marine
facilities in the country. Drawing millions of visitors each year, Florida’s
clear waters, world-class beaches and coral reefs support a $60.8 billion
tourism industry, an $18.9 billion boating industry and a fishing industry that
injects more than $7.5 billion a year into Florida’s communities.
When sewage is sent overboard, it can negatively impact both the environment
and human health. Sewage contains disease-causing microorganisms and can reduce
oxygen levels in water that fish and other aquatic species need to survive. To
date, more than 10.5 million gallons of raw sewage from boats has been prevented
from being discharged into Florida waters because one of the state’s 411 pumpout
facilities were used.
About the Clean Vessel Act Grant Program
The Clean Vessel Act of 1992 was signed into law to reduce pollution from
vessel sewage discharges, prohibiting the discharge of raw sewage into fresh
water or within coastal salt-water limits. The act established a federal grant
program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which to date has
awarded more than $172 million for states to install thousands of sewage pumpout
facilities. Grants are available for construction and installation of sewage
pumpout facilities at marinas or the purchase of pumpout boats.