Harbors Committee looks at pump-out solutions

Sat, 01/27/2018 - 7:45am

The Harbors Committee is looking into ways to recover money the town expends on pump-out services provided to visitors who dock their boats at local marinas.

The item came up at the most recent Harbors Committee meeting, when Chair Denny Heinz asked, “Where are we going to go with the fee on the pump-outs?”

“We should start charging these marinas, but do it in a way that doesn’t hurt them,” said Harbormaster Steve Land. “We are providing an epic service that they are legally required to provide.” Land said providing the service is an important requirement in keeping the Great Salt Pond clean, which he said is one of his priorities.

Land said that providing the service costs the town between $12,000 and $14,000, which covers maintenance of boats, insurance, fuel, and staffing.

“Fifty percent of our man-hours are dedicated to pump-out,” said Committee member Erik Elwell.

Member Carl Kaufmann pointed to the Harbor Management Plan, which states that the marinas are legally required to provide and maintain pump-out services.

“I think we should send a letter to the [Town] Council,” said Land.

“And to the CRMC,” said Elwell, referring to the Coastal Resources Management Council, the state agency that also has jurisdiction in the Pond.

“And DEM,” said Land, referring to the Department of Environmental Management, another agency with oversight at the GSP.

“The Pond is why people come out here,” said Land. “It’s so spectacular.”

Speaking of pump-out services, the Harbors Department received a new pump-out boat, which Land said was 75 percent paid for with a DEM grant.

The Harbors Department is also planning to buy 200 bushels of baby clams, that Land said would grow into about 36,000 adult quahogs.