As part of its efforts to protect and restore Eastern Shore waterways, ShoreRivers regularly works to identify and address all pollution sources, including nutrient pollution and harmful bacteria that can be introduced from recreational boaters’ waste. Boat discharge, especially in marinas, high boat traffic areas, and sheltered coves, can lead to pollution hotspots that pose serious health risks to humans and animals.
ShoreRivers’ pumpout boat—a convenient way to properly dispose of waste rather than discharging it into our waterways—recently wrapped another season on the Miles and Wye rivers assisting local boaters committed to more river-friendly boating practices. The 2022 season saw an impressive 20,155 gallons of waste pumped out of 460 tanks, bringing the boat’s lifetime total to 119,367 gallons kept out of our rivers since the program began in 2016.
The pumpout boat program operates with funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and in partnership with Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. CBMM donates free dockage, storage, and use of their land-based pumpout station to offload the waste from the boat. The sewage then goes directly to the St. Michaels wastewater treatment plant. For more details on this free service, which is offered between May and November, visit shorerivers.org/programs/pumpout-boat.
In the Chester River, boaters have been required to pump their waste at official pumpout stations since 2021 after a multi-year effort by ShoreRivers resulted in the Maryland Department of Natural Resources designating the river as the second No Discharge Zone in the state’s Chesapeake watershed. For a list of marinas where pumpout stations can be found, visit shorerivers.org/programs/no-discharge-zone.
“We all want swimmable, fishable, boatable rivers,” said ShoreRivers’ Director of Riverkeeper Programs Matt Pluta. “It’s something we work hard for every day at ShoreRivers, and we’re grateful to all recreational boaters who have joined us in our efforts to improve local water quality.”
ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education.