Photos of the Long Island Sound

Status and Trends: LISS Environmental Indicators

Type of Indicators: Health/Condition Response/Performance Socio-Economic Historical/Background

Vessel Pump-out Stations


Vessel Pump-out Stations
1995 41 2
1996 46 10
1997 49 24
1998 58 25
1999 67 30
2000 71 32
2001 76 51
2002 79 55
2003 90 53
2004 90 53
2005 91 53
2006 91 56
2007 92 59
2008 92 60
2009 93 61
2010 62

What are vessel pump-out stations?

The Federal Clean Water Act requires all vessels with an installed head to have a Coast-Guard approved marine sanitation device (MSD) attached to the toilet. Most recreational boats with an installed head have a holding tank to collect sewage (Type III MSD). Until Clean Vessel Act (CVA) funds became available in 1993 there were few pumpouts available to remove the sewage from holding tanks for proper treatment on shore. Both states have utilized CVA funding to provide grants to marinas for installation of pumpout facilities. Both states also have mobile pumpout boats that provide sewage removal services to boaters. Pumpout boats travel to where the recreational vessels are berthed or moored, pump their holding tanks, and transport the sewage to shore for proper disposal.

What does this indicate?

A sufficient number of vessel pump-out stations is required in order for an area to be declared a no discharge zone for vessel sewage.  Since vessel sewage is a significant point source of pathogen contamination in Long Island Sound, increasing the number of vessel pump-out stations reflects progress towards the ultimate goal of having all of Long Island Sound declared a no-discharge zone.


In 1995, there were 43 vessel pumpout stations in the Sound. Fifteen years later there are 154, a four-fold increase, in locations around the Sound with more expected in the future.

Data Note

*In NYS, the Clean Vessel Act Program (CVAP) is administered by the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC). EFC only tracks those pumpouts funded through the CVAP, therefore, the numbers reported here for NYS are only CVAP-funded pumpouts, not all the pumpout faciliites available in Long Island Sound. Currently, EFC is working on compiling information on all pumpout facilities in Long Island Sound to support the joint efforts between NYSDEC, NYSEFC, and NYS Dept. of State to complete a petition to the EPA certifying that there is a sufficient number of pumpouts to support a No Discharge Zone in all of the waters of Long Island Sound.

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Pumpout boat at Captains Cove, Bridgeport
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