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Conn. DEP extends deadline for runoff regulation

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection is extending the deadline for the state’s marinas and boatyards to comply with the environmental regulations of the federal and state Water Pollution Control Act. The act deals with discharges associated with runoff from pressure-washing boat bottoms.

The deadline for compliance had been December, but the DEP extended the deadline to Sept. 30, 2009.

“While we think the Dec. 31, 2008, deadline remains achievable, we do understand the difficulties in moving an industry from longstanding practices to regulatory compliance,” DEP commissioner Gina McCarthy said in a letter to Grant Westerson, executive director of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association.

Westerson told Trade Only Today he’s disappointed the deadline wasn’t extended further, until May 2010.

When the original deadline was established in May 2006, it was understood it would give those affected enough time to get the necessary permits and perform the construction. However, during that time period, the DEP analysts kept changing criteria, and it wasn’t until May 2008 that firm guidelines were established, Westerson said.

He said he’s asked the DEP to allow his members until December 2009 to comply so they will have the benefits of a construction season and a pressure-washing season.

Westerson said his members are concerned about the cost of compliance. He said they will have to spend thousands of dollars for surveys and site plans to get through their towns’ review processes, in addition to the tens of thousands of dollars for pumps, containment systems and other necessary items needed.

“We’re faced with a tremendous expense, a tremendous logistical time frame in which we’re being forced to do things in a very shortened time frame, and we’ve needed the guidelines from the state to know how to conduct our business afterward,” he said. “They finally gave us the guidelines, and those are not complete yet, and yet they’ve shortened our construction time.”

The DEP said it has been working with CMTA’s membership on this issue since 2006 and has sent correspondence to operators, owners, members and employees of the state’s marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs outlining regulatory requirements that apply to boat-bottom pressure washing.

“We understand that, particularly at a time like this, that it’s challenging for a business to make a new investment in their operations, to spend the money to take these steps,” said DEP spokesman Dennis Schain. “But this is a matter we’ve been talking with the marinas about for quite awhile, and it is something that’s really important to the quality of the waters of the Long Island Sound.”

— Beth Rosenberg
b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

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