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Connecticut launches world’s first solar pumpout boat

Earlier this week, state and federal government agencies launched the world’s first electric/solar pumpout boat, in Branford, Conn.

The Oct. 15 launch included a press conference with officials from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, along with Branford and East Shore District Health Department officials.

The 20-foot center console has solar panels on its top that power Torqeedo electric engines. The boat cost about $200,000 to build, according to a statement, and will be used to pump sewage from boats in the Branford River and Branford Harbor, starting next spring.

Long Island Sound is a no-discharge zone. It is estimated that 1 million gallons of sewage is pumped from boats every year.

“The construction of this vessel right here in Connecticut by one of our Clean Vessel Act Partners and a Clean Marina has not only created local green construction jobs, but also has set a new green standard for how work vessels such as this can be powered using clean, renewable energy,” DEEP commissioner Rob Klee said during the launch.

Klee praised the partnership between U.S. Fish and Wildlife, DEEP, Branford, the East Shore District Health Department, Yale University and Safe Harbor Marinas. “It embodies everything that we strive for here at DEEP — clean water, clean air, energy efficiency, a healthy marine manufacturing economy and innovative use of new technology to keep Connecticut businesses competitive,” Klee said.

“By using green energy to power environmental solutions and empowering local innovation with federal dollars, we are making government work for people, as we must,” DeLauro said at the launch.

The pumpout boat will be stationed at Safe Harbor Marinas/Bruce and Johnson’s Marina in Branford.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides financial assistance to states through the Clean Vessel Act. The assistance is used to fund pumpout stations, pumpout boats and dumping stations.

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