A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

A Cleaner Act

It looks like Boston Harbor will get much cleaner because federal, state and local officials said they expect to have a no-discharge plan in place by Memorial Day 2008. This means boaters can no longer dump treated head waste into the water. Instead, they will have to go to a pump-out station at a local marina, or hail a pump-out vessel plying the harbor.  Violators would be fined up to $2,000.

This move is the next step toward cleaning up the harbor. A recent $4 billion cleanup included renovations to waste-water treatment plants and sewage systems.

Massachusetts already has several no-discharge zones, and state officials hope to have the entire coastline designated a no-discharge zone by 2009.

The Bay State’s neighbors Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire have designated their entire coastlines as no-discharge zones.

This makes sense to us. Boaters benefit from cleaner waters. It’s also better for swimming and fishing.

But we also recognize this move poses challenges to boaters and marinas.

Are there enough pump-out facilities to accommodate the boaters? Is there enough manpower to take care of the docks? Will the boaters know about this incentive?

What are your thoughts?

– Lois Caliri and JoAnn Goddard
Soundings Trade Only


3 comments on “A Cleaner Act

  1. L. Roach

    In the Greater Boston Harbor area, marinas and boatyards serve as accessible waterfront communities attracting tourism, economic activity and providing places for families and friends to affordably enjoy access to one of America’s finest urban waterfronts. On August 6th, representatives from the MA Marine Trades Association stood alongside city and state officials during Boston Mayor Menino’s announcement that he was spearheading an application to the EPA to have the Greater Boston harbor area designated as a No Discharge Area.

    Serving as gateways to Boston Harbor, marinas, boatyards and boaters are staunch advocates of marine environmental stewardship: no one appreciates the importance and value of clean and accessible waterways more than the Commonwealth’s 186,000 boaters and 300 marinas and boatyards.

    Having just celebrated Massachusetts Marina Week and National Marina Day, MMTA applauds Mayor Menino’s leadership in taking the first steps towards designating Boston Harbor as a No Discharge Area. MMTA will continue to provide information to its members who serve the recreational boating public and MMTA will support the continued expansion of the pumpout infrastructure partially funded by the Clean Vessel Act.

    Criteria used to evaluate a new NDA application includes, among other things, the quantity of pumpouts available relative to the proximate boating population. We are confident that an NDA will only be approved is there is sufficient and fully operational pumpout infrastructure in place. MMTA will also bring to the attention of authorities charged with making the NDA designation that the cold weather and tide height issues in Massachusetts present special challenges to infrastructure and mechanical pumps that must operate in a harsh freeze/thaw environment and which, at low tide, must vertically pump up to 10 feet from sea level to the shore side storage tanks. These environmental realities and the greater propensity for equipment failure under these conditions may require an even greater proportion of pumpouts to boaters so that pumpout stations can “cover” for one another during unanticipated, unscheduled equipment downtime.

    Sufficient and operational infrastructure is the key to success: the Massachusetts marine industry will advocate for more and redundant pumpout stations to insure that a boater never has to spend their precious, seasonal boating time idling for hours in line for access to pumpout services.

    On behalf of the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, Greater Boston recreational boaters and the 27,000 men and women statewide who serve them, we support efforts to enhance the quality of Greater Boston Harbor for all to enjoy and treasure for generations to come through access to free and readily available pumpout services in the Commonwealth.

  2. Grant W. Westerson

    Connecticut’s last remaining segment of shoreline was recently designated as a no-discharge area and Governor, M. Jodi Rell, EPA Administrator Robert Varney and DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy celebrated the event at a ceremony in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Connecituct Marine Trades Association supported the designation and shared that the boaters are certainly doing their part and now we hope that the municipalities, their sewage treatment plants and storm drains are also brought up to better stanbdards.
    For too many years all beach closures from pollution has been blamed on boaters when in fact most muni-treatment plants discharge raw sewage whenever the rainfall is excessive. Perhaps the blame will now be shifted to the correct shoulders.
    It should be noted that this could be a double edged sword for the DEP. Where previously thay have demanded that a facility install a pumpout to comply before receiving another construction permit. Now they need to remember that they have already certified the entire coastline as having enough pump out facilities and vessels, and should not need to require any more.
    An interesting email was received from someone in Portland, Oregon (home base for many self-avowed “greenies”) who chastized CMTA for supporting the no-discharge designation and stating that boaters were pleased to do their part. I guess we need to coordinate with our bretheren 3000 miles away before commenting on any significant issue.

  3. Bill Woodroffe

    It would be great if municipalites were ALSO fined for dumping non treated waste into the water everytime it rained by and equal amout ($1000 per gallon?). The money could go toward recreational boating improvemnts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments Policy.