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During the course of normal marina operations, various activities and locations in the marina can generate polluting substances. Such activities include waste disposal, boat fueling, and boat maintenance and cleaning; such locations include storage areas for materials required for these activities and hull maintenance areas (METRO, 1992a; Tobiasson and Kollmeyer, 1991). Of special concern are substances that can be toxic to aquatic biota, pose a threat to human health, or degrade water quality. Paint sandings and chippings, oil and grease, fuel, detergents, and sewage are examples (METRO, 1992a; Tobiasson and Kollmeyer, 1991).

It is important that marina operators and patrons take steps to control or minimize the entry of these substances into marina waters. For the most part, this can be accomplished with simple preventative measures such as performing these activities on protected sites, locating servicing equipment where the risk of spillage is reduced (see Siting and Design section of this chapter), providing adequate and well-marked disposal facilities, and educating the boating public about the importance of pollution prevention. The benefit of effective pollution prevention to the marina operator can be measured as the relative low cost of pollution prevention compared to potentially high environmental clean-up costs (Tobiasson and Kollmeyer, 1991).

For those planning to build a marina, attention to the environmental concerns of marina operation during the marina design phase will significantly reduce the potential for generating pollution from these activities. For existing marinas, minor changes in operations, staff training, and boater education should help protect marina waters from these sources of pollution. The management measures that follow address the control of pollution from marina operation and maintenance activities.

A. Solid Waste Management Measure

Properly dispose of solid wastes produced by the operation, cleaning, maintenance, and repair of boats to limit entry of solid wastes to surface waters.

1. Applicability

This management measure is intended to be applied by States to new and expanding marinas. Under the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990, States are subject to a number of requirements as they develop coastal nonpoint source programs in conformity with this measure and will have some flexibility in doing so. The application of management measures by States is described more fully in Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Program Development and Approval Guidance, published jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

2. Description

Marina operators are responsible for determining what types of wastes will be generated at the marina and ensuring proper disposal. Marina operators are thus responsible for the contents of their dumpsters and the management of solid waste on their property. Hazardous waste should never be placed in dumpsters. Liquid waste should not be mixed with solid waste but rather disposed of properly by other methods (see Liquid Waste Management Measure).

3. Management Measure Selection

This measure was selected because marinas have shown the ability to minimize the entry of solid waste into surface waters through implementation of some or all of the practices. Marinas generate a variety of solid waste through the activities that occur on marina property and at their piers. If adequate disposal facilities are not available there is a potential for disposal of solid waste in surface waters or on shore areas where the material can wash into surface waters. Marina patrons and employees are more likely to properly dispose of solid waste if given adequate opportunity and disposal facilities. Under Federal law, marinas and port facilities must supply adequate and convenient waste disposal facilities for their customers (NOAA, 1988).

4. Practices

As discussed more fully at the beginning of this chapter and in Chapter 1, the following practices are described for illustrative purposes only. State programs need not require implementation of these practices. However, as a practical matter, EPA anticipates that the management measure set forth above generally will be implemented by applying one or more management practices appropriate to the source, location, and climate. The practices set forth below have been found by EPA to be representative of the types of practices that can be applied successfully to achieve the management measure described above.

  • a. Perform boat maintenance/cleaning above the waterline in such a way that no debris falls into the water.


  • b. Provide and clearly mark designated work areas for boat repair and maintenance. Do not permit work outside designated areas.

  • c. Clean hull maintenance areas regularly to remove trash, sandings, paint chips, etc.

    Vacuuming is the preferred method of collecting these wastes.

  • d. Perform abrasive blasting within spray booths or plastic tarp enclosures to prevent residue from being carried into surface waters. If tarps are used, blasting should not be done on windy days.

  • e. Provide proper disposal facilities to marina patrons. Covered dumpsters or other covered receptacles are preferred.

    While awaiting transfer to a landfill, dumpsters in which items such as used oil filters are stored should be covered to prevent rain from leaching material from the dumpster onto the ground.

  • f. Provide facilities for the eventual recycling of appropriate materials.

    Recycling of nonhazardous solid waste such as scrap metal, aluminum, glass, wood pallets, paper, and cardboard is recommended wherever feasible. Used lead-acid batteries should be stored on an impervious surface, under cover, and sent to or picked up by an approved recycler. Receipts should be retained for inspection.

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