Thursday August 29 was a big day for us here at Charleston Waterkeeper with the christening of our pumpout boat the No. 2 (because it’s our second work boat of course!). The No. 2 will help Charleston Waterkeeper prevent sewage discharges to our local waterways by offering boaters a cheap, convenient, and environmentally responsible way to dispose of marine sewage. We were honored to have Reverend John Zahl, Associate Priest at Grace Episcopal Church conduct the ceremony. Check out the video our friends over at Cobble Hill put together to commemorate the day:
The No. 2 is 19 foot custom made North Coast Pump Kleen built by Marine Boatbuiders Company of Warwick, Rhode Island. She’s a pure work boat capable of pumping 40 gallons of sewage per minute and has maximum holding tank capacity is 230 gallons. Perviously, she severed the Bristol Marina near the Ashley River Memorial Bridges. As part of our Mobile Pumpout Program she’ll concentrate her service at marinas and other areas not served by a pumpout boat and/or those with no shore side pumpout facility.
With over 65,000 registered boaters in the tri-county area, improper disposal of sewage from marine sanitation devices (heads) are one source of the fecal contamination plaguing our local waterways.
This past October, after analyzing available water quality data, we determined half of the impaired waterways in our watershed are impaired by high levels of fecal bacteria. We wrote about the research in previous blog post here. In many cases, waterway restoration plans will not be developed for several years. That’s why we decided to take action.
Over the past year we worked to secure the funding and develop the partnerships necessary to support the operation of our Mobile Pumpout Program. A key piece to that puzzle is our partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Clean Vessel Act Program which helps to defray a portion of the cost of operating and maintaining the No. 2 as a pumpout boat. Additional support from the Bishop Family Foundation, the Sauls Family Foundation, Charleston City Marina and Bristol Marina, Limelight Custom Sign Company, and our Board of Directors and Junior Council made the program a reality.
We are currently focused on outreach to raise awareness about the Mobile Pumpout Program. We’re also working to finalize the internal mechanisms necessary to efficiently administer the program on a day-to-day basis. Be sure to stay tuned to our website and Facebook and Twitter accounts, we’ll share the contact information for scheduling a pumpout when it’s finalized. We’ll also be sure to document and share the Mobile Pumpout Program’s first pumpouts with you.
In the name of clean water, pump it, don’t dump it!