In 2000, the Coalition began operating a free mobile boat waste pumpout service in Cuttyhunk Harbor. That year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established a No Discharge Zone in Buzzards Bay, which made it illegal for boats to discharge any waste in the Bay.
Boat sewage can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, nitrogen, and chemicals. Discharging that waste into the water can harm the Bay’s health, as well as the health of people who swim, fish, and shellfish in our local waters.
For the past 15 summers, the Coalition’s R/V Buzzards Baykeeper® has visited Cuttyhunk Harbor 1-2 times per week to service boats in need of pumpouts. In those years, we’ve removed a total of approximately 25,000 gallons of sewage from nearly 2,000 boats.
The Coalition alone can’t meet the demand for pumpouts in Cuttyhunk Harbor with this “temporary patch.” Fortunately, Gosnold has been working to improve the island’s ferry dock and septic holding tanks. This now makes it possible for the town create a permanent boat waste pumpout station on Cuttyhunk.
In the coming months, the Coalition will be working with the town to devise a plan for a permanent boat waste pumpout solution. Until then, we’ll continue to provide boaters in Cuttyhunk Harbor with free pumpout service in summer 2016.