Riverhead Town received a $60,000 state grant to offset the cost of a new pumpout boat, according to Supervisor Sean Walter.
The new 22-foot boat will replace an existing pumpout boat from 2004, which had exceeded its expected useful life, according to town Police Chief David Hegermiller. He said the town would have been unable to buy the boat without the state grant, which came from the state Environmental Facilities Corporation. The new boat costs just under $100,000 total.
“The Town of Riverhead is appreciative of the financial assistance awarded from EFC that will ensure that we protect the water quality of Long Island’s largest river, the Peconic River, which is so essential to the environment and our local economy,” Mr. Walter said in a press release.
The town offers two stationary pumpout facilities — one downtown and one at East Creek — free of charge to boaters, and has operated a seasonal pumpout boat since 2004 as a way of encouraging boats not to empty their waste into the bays.
The two boats last year served 786 boats and pumped 26,483 gallons of waste, according to officials.
But the cost of maintaining the 2004 boat was starting to become cost-prohibitive, according to Police Sgt. Ron Atkinson, who oversees the operation of the two pumpout boats.
“The $60,000 grant awarded by the state will allow the town to make certain that we provide this valuable service at no-cost daily to boaters navigating our waters during the summer boating season,” Sgt. Atkinson said in a press release.
The use of the pumpout boats also has increased greatly in recent years, he added.
Photo caption: The pumpout boat purchased in 2011. (file photo)