WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an effort to protect the health of Rhode Island’s waters, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced today that Rhode Island will receive $270,385 through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Clean Vessel Act (CVA) grant program. CVA grants fund the construction, replacement, renovation and maintenance of facilities that assist recreational boaters in properly disposing of on-board septic waste.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) administers the program and competitively awards the grants for new or upgraded marine pumpout facilities to local grantees through the DEM Office of Water Resources. Each CVA grant requires a 25-percent match. DEM will offer a maximum of $18,750 for land-based facilities and a maximum of $56,250 for mobile pumpout boats.

“This federal program helps protect Rhode Island’s waterways so that families, fishermen, and boaters can continue to enjoy the state’s natural resources. Over the years, the Clean Vessel Act has prevented millions of gallons of untreated sewage from polluting our waters, including Narragansett Bay,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Keeping our waters and marinas clean and healthy is good for our economy and the environment.”

“Recreational boating generates tens of millions of dollars in spending in Rhode Island every year, and supports hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs. This grant will expand infrastructure to serve boaters and help to keep our waters clean, so Rhode Island remains a beautiful and safe place to enjoy the water,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Congratulations to Director Coit and the DEM team on winning this important federal funding.”

“Rhode Island’s beautiful coastline provides tremendous opportunities for recreational boating, attracting tourists and residents to our waterways year after year,” said Langevin. “To maintain the beauty of our coast, however, and keep these boaters coming back, we must reinforce the importance of proper waste management and implement systems that ensure clean water and healthy ecosystems.”

“Preserving the natural beauty of Rhode Island’s coastline will help ensure the continued success of our tourism industry and make our state a top destination for travelers,” said Cicilline. “I applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for investing significant federal resources in Rhode Island through the Clean Vessel Act grant program and helping to protect our vital natural resources.” 

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management plans to utilize these funds to install three new land-based pumpout facilities, as well as replace two pumpout boats to service communities with large mooring fields. Additional funds will be made available to replace or upgrade existing stationary pumpout units and mobile pumpout boats.

“Rhode Island will continue to benefit from this important federal funding for our marine pump-out program, thanks to the dedicated efforts of our Congressional delegation,” said Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit. “All across Rhode Island we can see these funds at work, with new and upgraded facilities available for boaters traveling the shores of Block Island and Jamestown, Narragansett Bay and Bristol Harbor. Having conveniently located and well-maintained pump-out facilities ensures that Rhode Island boaters can properly dispose of their waste and helps to reduce a major source of contamination to the state's coastal waters."   

Congress passed the Clean Vessel Act in 1992. The law provides funds for the construction, renovation, operation and maintenance of sewage pumpout stations and dump stations for recreational boats, as well as information and education programs that encourage boaters to use pumpout facilities.

This year, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded more than $16.2 million in CVA grants to 27 states across the country. 

Funding for CVA grants are provided through the federal Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund is derived from excise taxes on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, import duties and interest on the fund. 

Owners of Rhode Island marinas may apply for grants for projects located at the owner’s marina. A non?owner operator may apply for such a grant, but only if the owner co-signs the application and the grant award.