Washington Clean Vessel Act Program Prevents Sewage from Affecting State Waters
Pumpout boats, public education and collaboration with marinas divert 10 million gallons of onboard sewage to onshore treatment.
In 2016, the Washington Clean Vessel Act, a joint program of Washington State Parks, U.S. Fish & Wildlife and Washington Sea Grant, helped divert a record 10 million gallons of raw sewage from Puget Sound, Lake Washington and other state waterways that previously would have been dumped into vulnerable waters. Instead it was collected for safe onshore treatment. This diversion is largely a result of training and outreach funded by U.S. Fish & Wildlife for the Pumpout Washington program, a branch of the Clean Vessel Act that provides outreach and education to boaters.
This summer, the Pumpout team hopes to expand services to waterways that are more remote. Based on needs identified in boater surveys, services will soon reach the San Juan Islands, particularly near Sucia Island.
Washington Sea Grant redesigned a spill-free pumpout adaptor kit to make it easier for boaters to use the pumpout facilities without making a mess. Throughout 2016, Washington State Parks and Washington Sea Grant distributed 1,000 of the free adaptor kits at 50 marinas and raised awareness of best practices among Washington boaters at boat shows, festivals, yacht clubs and through a partnership with the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Beginning in 2010, the team stepped up expansion of the pumpout stations, adding 65 new facilities around the state for a total of 150, and also beefed up maintenance to ensure the facilities work well.
Clean Vessel Program Manager Al Wolslegel explains that, “In Washington State, awareness of the Clean Vessel Act program and pumpout services is way up. The reaction from boaters has been so successful that we are breaking all records.”
For more information about the program, including a Google map showing pumpout station locations in Washington State, visit pumpoutwashington.org.
The Washington Clean Vessel Act program is part of the Clean Vessel Act of 1992 and in Washington it is managed by Washington State Parks and supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sportfish Restoration Fund from special taxes on recreational boats, fishing gear and boat fuel. The kits and training are made available to yacht clubs or other organizations that would like adaptor kits for members. Contact Aaron Barnett at 206-616-8929 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Lake Washington boaters may schedule pumpouts through terryandsonsmobilepumpout.com, 206-437-6764.