Ocean County Press Release
Six Boats Offer Pumpout Service on Bay
TOMS RIVER – Ocean County officials are reminding boaters that they can access a free wastewater pumpout service every weekend throughout the summer season.
"We now operate six pumpout boats that are helping us do our part to keep Barnegat Bay and its tributaries clean," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the Barnegat Bay Partnership. "We encourage all of our boaters who are out enjoying the bay and our rivers to use this free service and stop waste water pollutants from entering our waterways."
Now in its 17th year, a sixth boat was recently launched and will help in the county's efforts to keep the northern area of the bay clean.
"The Bay Defender is a 23-foot boat with a 420 gallon holding tank that is here in time for the 2014 boating season," Vicari said. "It made its debut over Memorial Day weekend and is being operated by Brick Township."
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 boats cover different areas of the bay throughout Ocean County. The pumpout boats can be accessed by contacting the captains on VHF Radio Channel 9.
The Bay Defender joins the Bay Saver in patrolling northern Barnegat Bay. Two other boats operate in central Barnegat Bay and two boats patrol Little Egg Harbor.
"This program has been a great partnership with the state, our municipalities, the Ocean County Utilities Authority and the Tuckerton Seaport," Vicari said.
For instance, the County will be reimbursed for the purchase of the new boat by the state Department of Environmental Protection through the Clean Vessel Act program.
The costs to operate all the boats are split between the county and the Ocean County Utilities Authority which allows the pumpout service to be free for boaters.
Vicari said the pumpout boat program is essential for a county like Ocean County which relies on tourism for its economic base.
"We are home to the greatest number of marinas in the state. We want people to use our bays and our rivers," Vicari said. "But we also want them to enjoy these wonderful natural habitats responsibly and to be mindful of the environment that needs to be protected and preserved."
When boaters are unable to use the many pumpouts based at the marinas throughout the County, they should be using the pumpout boats.
The boats operate Memorial Day weekend through October each year, including major holidays like July 4th, 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 credited the 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."