Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced that more than $1 million in federal funds are available for boat sewage disposal facilities, or pumpout stations, on Long Island Sound for the 2014 boating season. The program is administered by DEEP with a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Clean Vessel Act Program. This year, Connecticut was one of three 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.

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 (MSDF’s); 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,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. “This latest round of grant funding will allow us to continue and expand those programs – as well as provide financial assistance to municipalities, small marine businesses and non-profit organizations along our shoreline.”

Congress passed the Clean Vessel Act (CVA) 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 utilize these federal funds to facilitate low cost 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 non-profit organizations to install more than 97 land-based pumpout facilities, 21 dump stations, 18 pumpout vessels and three pumpout vessels associated with marinas for a total of 139 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 (CVA) 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.

The CVA program has awarded more than $12 million in grants since 1993 to fund more than 525 projects in Connecticut providing grants to small marine business owners, a valuable service to boaters, and providing improved water quality in Long Island Sound. It is DEEP’s intent to continue funding for these facilities to further improve water quality in Long Island Sound and other boating destinations in Connecticut, including rivers and lakes in inland areas.

For a copy of the Request for Proposals (RFP), visit the DEEP web page at www.ct.gov and select “Grant Program Information” or contact Kate Hughes Brown, Grants and Outreach Coordinator, at (860) 424-3652 or by email at [email protected].

Proposals must be received by 4:30 P.M. on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 and should be submitted to DEEP, Office of Long Island Sound Programs, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127.