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Alabama Clean Waters Initiative

Clean Waters Initiative 

We all love Alabama’s waters. And it’s up to all of us to preserve the quality of this vital natural resource. In light of this, we’ve developed the Alabama Clean Waters Initiative. The information below will explain more about the initiative and provide instructions on how both boaters and marina owners can each do their part to keep our waters clean and healthy.

Letter to Alabama Boat Owners
Letter to Alabama Marina Owners

Marina Pumping Station Locations - ADEM

Alabama Clean Boating Act

The Alabama Clean Boating Act authorizes inspections of marine sanitary devices (MSDs) by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on all recreational and residence vessels that carry an on-board sewage system. The law also requires all marinas with boat customers that use MSDs with holding tanks to install a boat sewage pump-out system for handling boating wastes at their facility. Marinas without pump-out or waste reception capability are prohibited from docking vessels with on-board holding tanks containing untreated waste.

Dump No Waste!

Bass boats, runabouts and pontoon boat sales are on the rise as recreational boating gains in popularity. Also on the rise is the sale of portable toilets. Portable toilets are not considered installed toilets and can safely store 2 to 9 gallons of human sewage.

The contents of these devices should be emptied at a shoreside dump station or at home and flushed immediately. When dumped directly into the water illegally by boaters, fecal coliform bacteria can enter the water and spread diseases, which may lead to beach closings, contaminated shellfish beds, lowered oxygen levels and added fertility of your lake.

Look for the orange and white signs at marina docks on your lake. These signs are visible wherever pumpouts and dump stations are located. Many pumpout station manufacturers also have special wand attachments to empty the contents of portable toilets. Look for these attachments or ask the marina owner for one. Be A Responsible Boater: Place Your Waste in Its Proper Place- Use Pumpouts and Dump Stations!

View/Print Clean Boating Act Brochure


Clean Boating and the Clean Vessel Act in Alabama

Sewage discharge by recreational boaters may seem small. Quite often people respond that they are only one boater. Compound this with the fact that over a million households in Alabama possess some form of watercraft. The discharge from so many boaters can be a substantial contributor to localized degradation of water quality.

Alabama’s Clean Vessel Act Program has been around since 1993 and has awarded more than $500,000 to marinas to install boat sewage pumpout stations. Boat sewage can:

  • make water unsafe for swimming
  • impact shellfish harvesting areas
  • harm fish and other water creatures

If you are a boater who needs to know where the nearest pumpout station is located, or a marina owner interested in installing a station, call the Alabama Department of Environmental Management at 1-800-533-2336.

Steps to Funding A Pumpout Station for Marina Owners:

1. Get an application from ADEM.
2. Meet with pumpout suppliers
3. Submit your application.
4. Wait for a signed contract.
5. Purchase and install the system.
6. Get 75% of the investment back.

View/Print Clean Vessel Act Brochure

Marina Owners, Do Your Customers Have a Place to Dump Their Portable Waste?

Many boat owners carry portable toilets on their boats. A safe and sanitary method for these boat owners to dispose of their portable waste is often a problem. Marina owners can help by installing a dump station at their marina.

The Clean Vessel Act (CVA) can provide financial assistance to marinas statewide for the purchase, installation and renovation of a dump station. The cost is minimal and the marina owner will pay only 25% of the total cost. CVA will pay up to 75% of this cost.

Dump stations are for portable toilets only. Another option is to purchase and install a pumpout station and dump station that will remove sewage from the holding tanks of boats, as well as portable toilets, by attaching an additional piece of equipment known as a wand. Ask the pumpout equipment supplier for a system designed for both holding tanks and portable toilets.

If runabouts, pontoon boats and deck boats are the most common boats on your lake, the dump station will be an attractive addition to your marina. Note: A dump station will not take the place of a pumpout station. Your situation may require a pumpout station. If so, inquire about the wand attachment so your pumpout station can be used for both holding tanks and portable toilets.

The lawful disposal of portable toilet sewage is solely the responsibility of the boat owner and operator, but you, the marina owner, can provide the proper motivation by installing a dump station in an easily accessible location on your property.

To find out how to apply for financial assistance through the Clean Vessel Act, call ADEM’s Ombudsman/Pollution Prevention Unit at 1-800-533-2336. We will send you an information packet and application, free of charge, through the mail.

View/Print Marina Owners' Brochure

Official Web site of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
©2008 Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources   |   64 N. Union Street, Suite 468 - Montgomery, Alabama 36130