Riverhead Town buys 2nd pumpout boat — with help from grants

COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead Town's new pumpout boat.

Riverhead is now a two pumpout boat town.

To ensure that boats don’t discharge septic waste into the bays, the town has added a second pumpout boat to its marine fleet, officials announced Tuesday.

The new 23-foot boat cost $84,160, the bulk of which was covered by state and county grants obtained by the town’s community development office, according to Supervisor Sean Walter, who said the town ended up paying only $12,080.

The state Environmental Facilities Corporation’s Clean Vessel Program contributed $60,000 and the county’s Pumpout Vessel Incentive Program provided $12,080.

Mr, Walter said the state program also contributed $6,787 toward the $9,949 cost of replacing the engine in Riverhead’s other pumpout boat, which has been in use for seven years.

Both pumpout boats will be docked in Peconic Bay. The town also has stationary pumpout facilities at the East Creek and downtown docks. There is no charge to use them, Mr. Walter said, adding that he’d eventually like to have a town pumpout boat available in Long Island Sound as well.

“The town has provided pumpout boat services free of charge since 2004 and usage has increased dramatically,” he said.
Between 2006 and 2010, the number of boats served jumped from 334 to 814 and the number of gallons pumped rose by 178 percent, from 8,308 to 23,117.

“Expanding this service will significantly reduce the amount of nitrogen being contributed to the Peconic Estuary, thereby protecting water quality and lessening potential for future brown tide blooms,” Mr. Walter said in a statement.

The pumpout boats are available May through October from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Riverhead Town portions of Peconic Bay and the Peconic River. Boaters wishing to contact the mobile pumpout units can initiate radio contact on VHF Channel 73. The mobile pumpout units are managed by the Town of Riverhead bay constable.

[email protected]

Looking to comment on this article? Send us a letter to the editor instead.