Riverkeepers Begin Pumpout Season

In 2016, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC), with funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the Clean Vessel Act administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, purchased and began operating a 22’ Pump Kleen® pumpout boat for the Miles and Wye rivers. In its first season, the boat pumped over 8,500 gallons of waste from nearly 350 boats.

Teddy Miller cruises the waters of the Miles and Wye Rivers in the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy pumpout boat.

The pumpout boat will begin operating this year on May 12 and run through October 8. Hours of operation are Fridays from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The schedule is subject to change depending on weather conditions and service demand.

The pumpout boat operates in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, where the boat is based. CBMM donates free dockage, storage and use of their land-based pump out station to offload the waste from the pumpout boat. The sewage waste removed from boats goes directly to the recently updated St. Michaels Wastewater Treatment Plant that provides high quality treatment.

MRC’s pumpout boat is the first of its kind on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The mobile pumpout facility significantly reduces nutrient pollution and harmful bacteria introduced by recreational boaters. The vessel allows boats to conveniently and properly dispose of waste rather than discharging it into our waterways. This service is greatly needed since there are no pumpout services on the Wye River and very few on the Miles. Because these services are limited, existing pumpout stations are often very crowded and boaters are discouraged by long wait times or unable to reach land-based pumpout facilities.

“We are very proud to have had the opportunity to partner with Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy on this initiative,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “CBMM is committed to helping protect the Chesapeake Bay, both environmentally and historically, and the pumpout boat is a great tool in this respect.”

“We are thrilled with the results of our first season,” says MRC Executive Director and Miles-Wye Riverkeeper Jeff Horstman. “We want to thank the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for all their help and support. The pumpout boat has a direct and measurable impact on clean water, which contributes to our mission to protect and restore our rivers. Additionally, this fun little boat has been one of our best public outreach tools, educating people who use the river the most on how much our rivers need help.”

For more information, contact Ann Frock at 443-385-0511 or ann@midshoreriverkeeper.org.

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