Pump it, don’t dump it!

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 5, 2004

Special to the News-Herald

Happy 4th of July, Suffolk Boaters! This holiday is traditionally one of the busiest boating weekends of the year.

Even though weather predictions, as I write this column, are a little glum, I can think of no better way to spend one or two days out of a three day weekend.


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With this festive mode in mind I wanted to get serious for a minute and remind all our readers, that besides having a good time this weekend, you need to remember the environment.

I am specifically talking about pumping wastewater, and not just dumping it.

Wastewater is a necessary by-product of boating. If you boat with a motor, you create wastewater; it is a one to one correlation. According to a recent press release the Hampton Roads Sanitation District knows this and have teamed with the Virginia Department of Health to set up FREE (yes, that is right), FREE pump-out facilities in marinas throughout the Hampton Roads area. The program promotes the use of onboard holding tanks, which can store the wastewater until you come pier-side when it can be pumped ashore for disposal.

What made all this possible? According to the same press release &uot;Specially trained college students provide pump-outs on a limited first-come, first served basis. Students attend local festivals, visit marinas, and even &uot;dock&uot; at homes or boat slips to provide the service. Each summer they collected approximately 6,000 gallons of wastewater. 6,000 gallons! The pump-outs will occur on the weekends through the end of the month of August.

The program itself is actually a result of funding provided through a federal Clean Vessel Act grant.

In this state the Department of Health manages the grant through its’ marina program. The Clean Vessel Act not only provides money to physically pump out boats, but also provides for boater education.

So, how do you follow-up on this good deal since it is first come, first serve? On Tuesday call 460-4253 and schedule an appointment. It is that easy.

Until next week, Boat Safe… and Boast Smart!