Hammond Cove welcomes Pump-out Boat

Waste dumps may soon be a thing of the past in Eastchester Bay, the end of the East River and the waters around Long Island Sound, as a new service boat will soon come and pump sewage waste out of boats for free. The boat will be based out of Hammond Cove Marina at 140 Reynolds Avenue in Throggs Neck and will begin making its rounds at the start of boating season.

The pump-out boat, which will decrease waste dumps from boats of all sizes this boating season, is being sponsored by non-profit organization Going Coastal, which promotes the preservation, protection, and conservation of urban coastlines.

The boat was delivered to Hammond Cove on Friday, April 15, said organization co-founder Barbara LaRocco, who grew up in the Bronx.

“Most larger boats have their own septic treatment tanks on board, but even the treated waste going into the water can damage both water quality and wildlife,” LaRocco said. “We will be working in the western part of Long Island Sound to the city line this summer to pump the sewage out of boats so that it is not dumped into waters.”

The 21-foot boat, similar in style to a small fishing boat and made in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has a specially designed sewage pump that can reach into the waste water tanks of seaward boats, pump out the waste, and store it in the hull of the vessel until its crew can deposit it into a waste sewer.

At Hammond Cove, a direct connection to the New York City sewer system should make it easy for Going Coastal’s boat to dispose of waste that is collected and be ready to be pushed back into service.

“You have 4,000 to 5,000 boaters in this area and it gets virtually no tidal flush, which in many other places cleanses the water, making this a very fragile environment in very densely populated area,” LaRocco said. “So there is a real need to talk to boaters and tell them that there is no reason they should be hiding, because this is a free service and we are just doing pollution prevention in the area.”

The boat will also monitor water quality and will be crewed by students from Kingsborough Community College’s maritime program, with the crew including Ray Ortiz, Steven Walla, and Alex Stevkovski.

The crew will be paid during the summer through a grant that Going Coastal has received from the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Clean Vessel Act Program, and should be receiving additional training at S.U.N.Y. Maritime College.

The marina is happy to have the vessel service its boaters, especially larger boats who have “heads,” and who may have problems finding stations that can clean out a waste water tank.

“Instead of taking a side trip to somewhere, this service will clean it for free, right on the water,” said Hammond Cove Marina owner Justin Dambinskas.

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