Florida campaign focuses on sewage disposal

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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Clean Vessel Act grant program launched "Pitch In-Pump Out," this week, a new awareness campaign to inform marinas and boaters about keeping Florida's waterways clean through the proper disposal of boater sewage.

Capt. Rick Murphy, the official spokesman for Pitch In-Pump Out, is a well-known Florida sportsman and host of "Sportsman's Adventures with Captain Rick Murphy" on SunSports. He will be featured on television and radio ads airing statewide spreading the message to pitch in and pump out.

"We are very excited to begin this campaign with Capt. Rick Murphy and encourage boaters and marinas to be active in protecting Florida's waterways," DEP interim secretary Mimi Drew said in a statement. "It is important that boaters know how to properly dispose of sewage and that marinas know about the grant money available right now to help them purchase and operate pumpout equipment."

Marine facilities can take advantage of Clean Vessel Act grants that reimburse 75 percent of the total costs of approved pumpout projects, leaving the marina responsible for 25 percent of the total in matching funds.

To offset out-of-pocket expense, the program also allows facilities to count in-house labor costs and pumpout boat trade-in values toward meeting the required match. With an average cost of $12,000 to $75,000, pumpout projects allow sewage to be removed from a boat and then disposed of through established treatment procedures.

With more than 2,000 marinas, Florida has the largest number of marine facilities in the country, according to the state DEP.

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