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The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced Thursday that all pumpout services for recreational boaters along Long Island Sound, Connecticut’s rivers and Candlewood Lake will now be offered free of charge.
“Every facility with a publicly available pumpout system designed to capture sewage from recreational boats has agreed to provide this service for free, demonstrating that our marine industry partners have a tremendous commitment to improving water quality and providing top-notch service,” DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee said in a statement.
In 2013, Connecticut marine facilities and pumpout boat programs helped to keep 910,108 gallons of sewage out of the waters of Long Island Sound, making a significant contribution to efforts to protect natural resources and aquatic life. Up until now, many of the pumpout facilities had charged a service fee of $5.
To help boaters find and take advantage of pumpout services that are available, DEEP has launched a new interactive map showing the location of each publicly accessible pumpout facility and pumpout vessel. The map provides boaters with the latitude and longitude, hours of operation, and contact information for the facility or vessel for a pumpout.
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.
Since 1993, DEEP has worked in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, marinas, yacht clubs, boat yards, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations to install more than 97 land-based pumpout facilities, 21 dump stations, 19 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.