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Water: Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments

G. Maintainance of Sewage Facilities Management Measure

Ensure that sewage pumpout facilities are maintained in operational condition and encourage their use.

1. Applicability

This management measure is intended to be applied by States to marinas where marine sewage disposal facilities exist. Under the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990, States are subject to a number of requirements as they develop coastal nonpoint source programs in conformity with this measure and will have some flexibility in doing so. The application of management measures by States is described more fully in Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Program Development and Approval Guidance, published jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.


2. Description

The purpose of this measure is to reduce the release of untreated sewage into marina and surface waters.


3. Management Measure Selection

This measure was selected because it is effective in preventing failure of pumpouts and discourages improper disposal of sanitary wastes. Also, many pumpouts are not properly maintained, limiting their use. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDDNR, 1991) provides operation and maintenance information on pumpouts to marina owners and operators in an effort to increase availability and use of pumpouts. Many other States inspect pumpout facilities to ensure that they are in operational condition (Appendix 5A).


4. Practices

As discussed more fully at the beginning of this chapter and in Chapter 1, the following practices are described for illustrative purposes only. State programs need not require implementation of these practices. However, as a practical matter, EPA anticipates that the management measure set forth above generally will be implemented by applying one or more management practices appropriate to the source, location, and climate. The practices set forth below have been found by EPA to be representative of the types of practices that can be applied successfully to achieve the management measure described above.


  • a. Arrange maintenance contracts with contractors competent in the repair and servicing of pumpout facilities.

  • b. Develop regular inspection schedules.

  • c. Maintain a dedicated fund for the repair and maintenance of marina pumpout stations. (Government-owned facilities only)

  • d. Add language to slip leasing agreements mandating the use of pumpout facilities and specifying penalties for failure to comply.

  • e. Place dye tablets in holding tanks to discourage illegal disposal.

Boating activities that result in excessive fecal coliform bacteria levels can be addressed through the placement of a dye tablet in the holding tanks of all boats entering the adversely impacted waterbody. This practice was employed in Avalon Harbor, California, after moored boats were determined to be the source of problem levels of fecal coliform bacteria. Upon entering the harbor, a harbor patrol officer boards each vessel and places dye tablets in all sanitary devices. The officer then flushes the devices to ensure that the holding tanks do not leak. During the first 3 years of implementation, this practice detected 135 violations of the no-discharge policy and was extremely successful at reducing pollution levels (Smith et al., 1991). One tablet in approximately 60 gallons of water will give a visible dye concentration of one part per million. The cost of the tablets is approximately $30 per 200 tablets (Forestry Suppliers, 1992).




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