Monthly Archives: September 2009

Pump-out at a Designated Station

Please remember, Federal law prohibits the discharge of untreated sewage within all navigable US waters – and within three miles of the coast. If you have an MSD III Type system, and most smaller boats do , using pump-out facilities is the only way to legally empty your holding tank in most US waters. so, for better or worse, pump-out should be a routine part of your boating experience. The newer dock-side systems and pump-out vessels make the process relatively painless and a little less nasty – nevertheless dedicating a pair of robust rubber gloves to this task wouldn’t be a bad idea.

The Clean Vessel Grant Program has been the main instigator behind the proliferation of pump-out stations and boats; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program provides reimbursement to marinas that install pump-out facilities. The funds can support equipment purchases, operation and maintenance which, in turn, keep the waterways clean by reducing or eliminating discharge of black and gray water. Some states are underwriting, frequently in tandem with an EPA grant, the construction of pump-out facilities and then requiring that these be made available to all comers at very affordable rates.

In harbors where pump-out boats ply the waters, the services are usually free and full-service (tip appreciated!). In regions where facilities have been underwritten, the costs are either free or nominal, and “self-service” is the rule. In areas where it’s left up to the marinas, the quality, availability and cost varies widely.