At the Waterways Advisory Committee meeting on July 20th the group continued to seek out ways to insure the waters around Marco Island would be protected from pollutants and potential damage to the environment and marine life.
One of the presentations that were made regarding that goal was by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and their Clean Marina Program. That program promotes the following Best Management Practices:
Protection of Sensitive Habitats
Vessel Maintenance and Repair
Containment and Disposal of Waste
Environmental Outreach and Education
Storm Water Management
All of these focuses on protecting the fragile environmental balance, as the desires to access the waterways around the State
of Florida continue to increase. It is a special focus of the Waterways Committee as they continue to look into ways to protect and improve the water quality around the island as they promote more regular testing and identification of potential pollutants to the waterways. Fertilizer, storm runoff, illegal dumping of yard waste and other materials contribute to potential harm to the quality of our waters. Moored Boats
One of those present at the meeting was Robert Stoico, who is a board member of the Esplanade Marina Association. His comments dealt with the mooring of boats located in Smokehouse Bay. Smokehouse Bay is the body of water which lies at
the front of the Esplanade itself, and testing has indicated some issues within the bay. One of the city’s 12 testing points lies at the Jane Hitler Park, which is in close proximity to the Esplanade Marina within Smokehouse Bay.
Stoico spoke to the need for a more proactive involvement by the city to insure those that stay moored in that body of water are abiding by the regulations requiring that their tanks are inspected on a regular basis, to make sure that they are legally disposing of their waste water while at anchor.
The Esplanade Marina has “pump out” facilities to accommodate that, however Stoico pointed out the fact that during season
and other times boats stay at anchor for long periods of time, which would require either a legal discharge to a system such as is available at the Esplanade facilities, or they are illegally discharging overboard. Besides boats which have dockage at the marina, there is minimal accessing of the marinas pump-out facilities.
One such boat can still be seen moored out in Smokehouse Bay now, and has been there throughout most of last season, but has only utilized the pump out facilities at the Esplanade once. There are two other smaller sailboats which have never utilized the facilities. Other Areas With Longtime Moorings
Besides the area on Smokehouse Bay, another
popular mooring area is found at Factory Bay near Rose River Marina. A number of boats appear to moor there on an extended basis. One sailboat has been there throughout the entire last season and those onboard have been chaining their bicycles to the bridge near the Collier County Marine Patrol Station on North Barfield Drive.
A check with Rose Marina finds that vessel has never made use of their pumpout facilities either, calling into question those occupants and their provisions for discharge of that waste.
Abandoned boats can also be a problem, as oils and other contaminants can leak from those vessels. Florida Requirements Regarding Wastewater Discharges
Florida requires any vessel
of 26’ or more with berthing provisions to have a working toilet onboard. A Marine Sanitation Device (MSD) is any equipment for installation on board a vessel, other than a toilet, which is designed to receive, retain, treat or discharge sewage and any process to treat such sewage (Florida Statute 327.53). MSD TYPE 1: Flow-through device that treats sewage by chemical or thermal means. MSD TYPE 2: Device that treats the sewage by biological means and uses bacteria. MSD TYPE 3: Holds the sewage. Prevents direct overboard discharge or sewage.
Underfederallaw,ifaboathasaYvalve allowing direct overboard discharge of untreated waste is must be closed while operating in all inland and coastal waters.