In 2016, the Washington Clean Vessel Act, a joint project 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.
Instead of being dumped into vulnerable waters, the sewage was collected for safe onshore treatment. This diversion is largely a result of training, outreach and federal funds provided by U.S. Fish & Wildlife for the Pumpout Washington program, a branch of the Clean Vessel Act that provides outreach and education to boaters and boater organizations.
For summer 2017, the Pumpout team hopes to expand services to waterways that are more remote and but see heavier boating traffic. Based on needs identified in boater surveys, services will soon reach the San Juan Islands, particularly near Sucia Island.
Washington Sea Grant redesigned a hands-free, spill-free pumpout adaptor kit to make it easier for boaters to use pumpout facilities without making a mess. Throughout 2016, Washington State Parks and Washington Sea Grant distributed 2,000 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.
Since 2010, the team has also stepped up expansion of the pump out stations, adding 65 new facilities around the state for a total of 150 — and beefed up maintenance to ensure all function properly.
Clean Vessel Program Manager, Al Wolslegel, explains that, “Awareness of the Clean Vessel Program and it’s pump out services in Washington State is way up. The reaction from boaters has been so successful, 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 Clean Vessel Program 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.
Washington Sea Grant, based at the University of Washington, helps people and marine life thrive through research, technical expertise and education supporting the responsible use and conservation of coastal ecosystems. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. www.wsg.washington.edu. Join the conversation: @WASeaGrant and Facebook.com/WaSeaGrant.