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Old 10-06-2020, 12:16   #1
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Covid-19 and lack of pump out services

In Massachusetts some harbors provide a boatside holding tank pump out service to reduce pressure on, or in lieu of, dockside self-service pump outs. Since Covid-19 and, from what I can tell, one study suggesting a risk of transmission through sewage, the two harbors I have encountered have suspended the service pending word from the department of health. They do still have their dockside facility available.



I am having trouble accepting this as a legit reason to not offer the service. I expect the pumpout boat operators are already taking precautions to avoid hepatitis and e-coli. Surely these same precautions are also preventing the spread of SARS Cov-2. Maybe they need to add face shields. I don't mind using the dockside service but where the boat service was provided before, the availability of sufficient space and number of pumps is wholly inadequate for the boating season that is just starting to get going up here.


Trump's EPA has said that companies can just stop following environmental regulations to avoid the spread of Covid-19 without informing anyone that they have stopped. It seems that this should apply to the the no-discharge zones as well and allow boats to discharge withing the 3-mile NDZ. Not that I support such a change, but there needs to be a rational look at this.


Harry
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Old 10-06-2020, 12:36   #2
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Re: Covid-19 and lack of pump out services

People will try and find any excuse they possibly can to get out of doing a job. It is as simple as that. This is a particularly crappy job, so they will naturally try even harder not to do it.
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Old 10-06-2020, 13:04   #3
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Re: Covid-19 and lack of pump out services

Quote:
Originally Posted by hlev00 View Post
In Massachusetts some harbors provide a boatside holding tank pump out service to reduce pressure on, or in lieu of, dockside self-service pump outs. Since Covid-19 and, from what I can tell, one study suggesting a risk of transmission through sewage, the two harbors I have encountered have suspended the service pending word from the department of health. They do still have their dockside facility available.



I am having trouble accepting this as a legit reason to not offer the service. I expect the pumpout boat operators are already taking precautions to avoid hepatitis and e-coli. Surely these same precautions are also preventing the spread of SARS Cov-2. Maybe they need to add face shields. I don't mind using the dockside service but where the boat service was provided before, the availability of sufficient space and number of pumps is wholly inadequate for the boating season that is just starting to get going up here.


Trump's EPA has said that companies can just stop following environmental regulations to avoid the spread of Covid-19 without informing anyone that they have stopped. It seems that this should apply to the the no-discharge zones as well and allow boats to discharge withing the 3-mile NDZ. Not that I support such a change, but there needs to be a rational look at this.


Harry
Harry, all sewage service workers are required to have a full range of vaccinations for waste transmitted diseases, e.g., hepatitis. There is no vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, hence the employees and employers must take such factor into consideration as to their operations and practices.

It is up to each of the service workers and their supervisors to make the decision whether they wish to take a risk for what is purely a convenience service. It is simple enough for you to schedule a pump out time at a shore based pump out which you personally handle your own waste off loading. Or you could simply use your boat and cruise out beyond the NDZ and dispense your wastes into the sea. There no need to be a marina queen. Geez is it really such a major task to take care of your own **** and deal with its potential of being a vector of a dangerous disease?

The shut down of pump out services has been commonplace worldwide because the risk is real, albeit a moderate to low risk event. Recreational boating is a non-essential activity, hence it is non-essential to have employees be placed at risk. The pandemic is still in its early stages and their is yet no effective therapeutic let alone a vaccine hence social distancing and non-pharmaceutical interventions [NPIs] remain and will remain.

Example:

Annapolis harbormaster to suspend pump-out boat service due to coronavirus pandemic.
MAR 18, 2020

The Annapolis Harbormasterís office announced Wednesday it is suspending its pump-out boat service starting Saturday due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

The city pump-out boatís final day of service will be March 21 and will remain out of service through the rest of the cityís state of emergency, city spokeswoman Mitchelle Stephenson said.

Dumping untreated waste in Annapolis waters is illegal. And Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley and County Executive Steuart Pittman signed an application in October that would bar all boats from discharging sewage into county waters. The EPAís decision to accept the petition is likely to come in late spring or early summer, Stephenson said.

The locations where boaters should contact while city service is suspended include seven marinas on the Mathogy River, 17 on the Severn River, 12 on South River and two on White Hall Bay.

Port Annapolis has a mobile pump-out boat and charges $20 if an employee does the job. Itís free if a boater does it themselves, an employee said.

While the coronavirus has forced both the office to close and some of its in-person services to stop temporarily, the Harbormaster will still be operational during the state of emergency"
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