Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Midshore Riverkeepers Team up fo - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Midshore Riverkeepers Team up for Pump-Out Boat

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The new pump-out boat (Photo: WBOC) The new pump-out boat (Photo: WBOC)

ST. MICHAELS, Md.- The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is adding another boat to its fleet, but this is not a historic vessel.  But this boat, the first of its kind on Delmarva, is an important addition to its collection.

There is an undeniable beauty on the Eastern Shore.  Much of that is tied to our waterways.  The goal of the new pump out boat is to ensure the rivers around the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum stay clean.

"We're going to be going up to any of the recreational boats in this area, and free of charge we are going to be discharging their sewage tanks to the pump out boat, and then bringing it back to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum to our pump out facility here," said Kristen Greenaway, president of the museum.

It's needed because right now, believe it or not, boaters can discharge sewage directly into the rivers.

"You can discharge into the river using what is called a marine sanitation device, which is basically a maceration unit that makes sure there are no visible solids when it dumps out.  There is some mild bacteria treatment, but there is nothing done to remove the nitrogen and phosphorous, which are the main problems for our rivers," said Jeffery Horstman, the Miles/Wye riverkeeper for the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy.

The amount of sewage collected will be shown online in a style similar to a fund raising thermometer.

"If you think, it takes 300 gallons per trip, and we're looking to collect 15- to 20,000 gallons per year, just to be able to see, to prove how much sewage we are removing from the bay will be quite phenomenal," said Greenaway.

The boat was paid for 75 percent by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and 25 percent by the riverkeepers and their supporters.  Housing and upkeep is on the museum.

"From Friday afternoons through Sunday, we plan to have regularly scheduled routes where we can pump out both people who live on the river, and people who are here overnight," said Horstman.

The service will begin in May and last through mid-October.  The Maritime Museum and Riverkeeper Conservancy are in the process of creating a phone number for people to schedule pump-outs. The Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy says in the past, it has noticed an uptick of bacteria in the rivers following holiday weekends. The organization believes this boat will put a significant dent in curbing those levels in Talbot County.

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