Ocean County Press Release
Ocean County Acquires 6th Pumpout Boat
TOMS RIVER – Ocean County's award winning pumpout boat program will be getting a sixth boat to help keep Barnegat Bay and its tributaries clean.
"This program is now moving into its 17th year," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the program. "It has been very successful in helping our efforts to keep the bay waters clean and also to assist boaters who use our waters."
The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is expected to award a contract in the amount of $90,899 to Marine Boat Builders of Warwick, Rhode Island, at its Jan. 22 meeting to provide the County with a 23-foot boat with a 420 gallon holding tank in time for the 2014 boating season.
Ocean County's pumpout boats are specially equipped vessels capable of emptying the on-board toilets and tanks of other boats, thus keeping waste from entering the bay. The five boats currently cover different areas of the bay throughout Ocean County.
The new boat will be operated by Brick Township and will join the Bay Saver in patrolling northern Barnegat Bay. Two other boats operate in central Barnegat Bay and two boats patrol Little Egg Harbor.
"While we are providing the funds to purchase the new boat, Ocean County will be fully reimbursed for the purchase by the state Department of Environmental Protection through the Clean Vessel Act program," Vicari said. "This has been a great partnership for the County."
The costs to operate all the boats are split between Ocean County and the Ocean County Utilities Authority in order to allow the pumpout service to be provided free of charge to boaters.
"This program has been successful because it is built on the cooperation of the state, county and participating municipalities," Vicari said. "The program provides us with environmental benefits as we work to preserve and protect Barnegat Bay."
The boats operate Memorial Day weekend through October each year and have steadily expanded their operations. Last year almost 129,000 gallons of wastewater was removed from recreational boats.
"Since the program started in 1998, over 1 million gallons of wastewater has been removed and properly treated," Vicari said. "Without this program, that wastewater could have been discharged improperly sending pollutants into the bay."
Vicari also credited the pumpout boat captains for being "our eyes and ears on the water."
"They can quickly notify us of any problems," Vicari said. "This was especially helpful following Superstorm Sandy."