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EPA reminds marinas how to cut pollution

As summer begins, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reminding New York marina operators about ways to reduce polluting waterways.

The EPA and the state Department of Environmental Conservation recently compiled a manual and distributed it to more than 500 marinas statewide detailing ways to reduce pollution.

“Marina operators play important roles in protecting the health of our coastal waters and beaches,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck said. “The products used in boat maintenance often contain chemicals that can cause serious damage to the marine environment.”

Cleaning products and chemicals used in boat maintenance can pollute waterways when washed away by rain. While runoff from one boat or marina may seem minor, the issue compounds with each incident, the EPA said in a news release.

More than 75 public and private marinas operate on Long Island.

Clean Water Act regulations apply to operations and the EPA has gone after violators.

Earlier this year, three yacht clubs in Westchester County agreed to pay penalties ranging from $8,500 to $9,900 to settle allegations that they did not renew stormwater permits and did not conduct annual monitoring of stormwater discharges, which is required.

The settlements were with Huguenot Yacht Club of New Rochelle, Beach Point Club of Mamaroneck and American Yacht Club of Rye.

The EPA recommends the following for marina operators:

--Inspect above-ground fuel storage tanks and piping for leaks.

--Avoid underwater boat bottom cleaning or hull scraping.

--Collect wash water, treat it and either dispose of it at a sewage treatment plant or recycle.

--Do boat maintenance indoors when possible.

--Avoid using cleaning products with alcohol, ammonia, bleach, ethanol, formaldehyde and phosphoric acid.

--Seal floor drains in maintenance areas with concrete if they don’t connect to a sewer or holding tank.

More information about marina management practices can be found online at www.EPA.gov/region02.

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