Monroe County Launches MPOOP Program | Government / Politics

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The Monroe County Commission continues its efforts to improve water quality in the fragile Florida Keys ecosystem, home to the Coral Reef and a National Marine Sanctuary.

The commission this week approved a program to boost its efforts to get people pumping sewage from their boats by providing more pumping stations throughout the approximately 120-mile island chain.

County commissioners have approved the Marina Pump-Out Outfitting Program (MPOOP), which is designed to reduce pollutant releases from cruise ships by increasing the number and use of sewage pumping facilities.

The program can help local marinas know how to install the sewage pumping systems required for ships. The County of Monroe code requires that marine installations with 10 or more boat slips or one or more life on board slips receive official notification that a fixed on-site pumping system needs to be installed, Celia Hitchins said, Monroe County Naval Administrator. Resource office.

Once the notice is sent to a marine facility, that facility will have 12 months to complete the installation. Once installed, the equipment must remain operational to ensure that drain service is available to all customers, Hitchins said.

Regardless of their size, all marinas must provide educational signage to inform boaters of the importance of pumping and the location of pumping stations, according to Hitchins.

Before setting any deadlines, the MPOOP program is available to assist marine facilities that wish to voluntarily install the required pumping equipment on their property prior to sending notices. No date has been set for the start of official notification, Hitchins said.

“There are nearly 500 marine facilities in Monroe County with approximately 500 to 1,000 cruise ships at these locations,” said Celia Hitchins of the Monroe County Marine Resources Office. “Less than a third of these facilities have the on-site sewage pumping equipment required for ships. “

When the notification is sent, existing installations without the required systems will have a 12 month implementation period, but there is up to 75% financial assistance available from Florida’s Clean Vessel Act (CVA) grant program. Department of Environmental Protection to comply. The CVA program can cover the costs associated with the purchase, installation, operation and maintenance of drain equipment, as well as other miscellaneous costs such as signage.

“Designing and installing pumping systems can be a daunting infrastructure project, especially for small family marinas, as implementation can take a lot of time and resources,” said the county mayor of Monroe, Michelle Coldiron. “I am delighted that a substantial grant is available to offset the cost and that our Monroe County Marine Resources Office is here to help marinas navigate the funding process to help them become compliant.”

Additional information, an educational video, step-by-step advice, contact information and sample projects and costs are available at http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/mpoop or by calling 305-289-2500.

“The program supports the Florida Keys No Discharge Zone which protects Monroe County’s fragile natural resources,” Hitchins said. “By supporting our local facilities, marinas owners and operators can proactively move forward to help protect and improve the quality of our nearshore waters. “

The program is the latest in a series of programs the county has adopted over the past decade to improve and protect water quality. The county and state have partnered to connect Keys homes and businesses to a central sewerage system, and the county has made restoring water quality in local canals a priority.

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