Enforcement and Assistance in New England
The Marina Initiative
There are more than 1,200 marinas in the New England region. Many of these marinas repair, store, maintain, and fuel water craft, which can present a number of significant environmental issues. These issues include:
- point and non-point source pollution from storm water contaminated by marina operations;
- spills and emissions from fuel and oil; and
- generation of hazardous waste from paints, solvents, degreasers, oils and fuels.
Marinas, like many small businesses, often lack the environmental expertise and resources to achieve high environmental standards. These problems are compounded by the decentralized and fragmented nature of federal and state regulations governing marina operations.
In 2001, EPA New England launched a regional Marina Initiative to improve compliance and promote the adoption of best management practices through a targeted and regionally coordinated assistance program. Our partners include the six New England states, marine trade associations, marina owners, and related nonprofit organizations. As part of this initiative, we developed a number of compliance assistance tools, conducted numerous training workshops and measured the results of our efforts. In addition, we continued to use our enforcement authority when faced with situations that threaten public health and the environment or involve significant violations. As a companion initiative, we established a program to promote the sale of lower polluting marine engines.
Assistance Activities and Results
Since 2001, EPA New England has been involved in a number of strategic assistance projects for marinas. These efforts have involved: more than 30 training and demonstration workshops; over 150 on-site visits; establishment of a regional marina website and guidance materials on best management practices; fact sheets covering topics such as hazardous waste and storm water management; an Environmental Management Plan Workbook (PDF) (54 pp, 316K, about PDF) to help marinas plan and track their environmental responsibilities; and a regional marina assistance provider network to help assistance providers share information and ideas. Many of these activities were done in partnership with state environmental agencies and state marine trades associations. In 2006, we organized a Leadership Conference in March to help New England states and marine trade associations address critical marina environmental issues in such areas as pressure washing. Working with our Rhode Island partners, we conducted a seminar to help marina owners in that state address federal and state hazardous waste management requirements.
The measurement component of the initiative was our first attempt to provide assistance and to measure the results across an entire industry sector. Under this effort, we developed a checklist of environmental indicators and, using this checklist, then measured the results of our activities, both before and after assistance was provided. This measurement activity included 140 random on-site assessment visits to marinas (70 before and 70 after the assistance period), the offering of assistance to those marinas visited, and the aggregation of results upon completion of the visits. Final results for the 70 marina post-assistance sample group showed the following improvements:
- Hazardous Waste
- Stored indoors or covered - up 9%
- Stored in a dedicated storage area - up 6%
- Oil and Fuel
- 10 Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plans observed vs. 1 in 2001
- Number of marinas with fuel spill prevention procedures - up 5%
- Number of marinas with fuel spill containment equipment/procedures increased by 6%
- Storm Water
- 15 marinas had a NPDES Storm Water Permit in 2004 vs.1 in 2001
- Number of marinas with BMP’s in place to protect the water - up 6%
- Number of marinas making environmental structural changes - up 12%
- Number of marinas using alternative materials to reduce toxicity - up 7%
- Number of marinas using Clean Vessel Funds to repair/maintain pump out equipment - up 24
Because our assistance was targeted at marinas region-wide, we would expect to see similar improvements within the entire marina sector in New England. Lastly, we also examined other factors as a measure of improved compliance. For example, in 2004, we documented an increase in the number of marinas taking advantage of EPA Audit Policy and an increase in the number of marinas that are filing Tier 2 reports under EPRCA.
In addition to working with the industry by teaching best management practices and proper pollution prevention techniques, we conducted a number of inspections. These inspections resulted in several enforcement actions being taken against marina and boatyard facilities for various environmental violations. In July 2006, we settled three penalty actions against boat builders in New England for failing to prepare and implement required oil spill prevention plans. The settlements were reached with: Promet Marine Services in Providence, RI; Derecktor Shipyard in Bridgewater, CT; and Alden Yachts in Portsmouth, RI. Each facility agreed to pay a penalty of $3,000 to resolve EPA’s action. Under the Clean Water Act, facilities storing significant amounts of oil are required to create a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan to minimize environmental risks from oil spills from onsite tanks (due to tank failures or spills during filling). Because marina, boat and ship work facilities are generally located on waterways, the environmental risks from oil spills are particularly high.
In addition, we also settled a case against New England Boatworks, Inc., a Portsmouth, RI marina and boatyard in which the company agreed to pay a $52,300 fine to settle EPA claims that it violated regulations governing the storage and handling of hazardous materials, storm water discharges and oil pollution prevention requirements. The violations were discovered during two inspections in 2003, when EPA inspectors found that the facility violated hazardous waste disposal rules when it failed to identify some containers of waste as hazardous. Further, soil samples taken by EPA at the facility revealed a release of high concentrations of lead. The case also involved Clean Water Act violations for the facility’s failure to develop and implement a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan and a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan. The facility is located on Narragansett Bay and stores over 13,500 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel in its above-ground tanks, triggering requirements to maintain oil spill prevention plans. The facility’s location on Narragansett Bay poses a serious threat of environmental damage to the Bay, if a spill were to occur at the facility.
Also in July, 2006, we filed an Administrative Complaint seeking penalties against Conanicut Marine Services (CMS), which operates five marine-related facilities in Jamestown, RI. CMS facilities include a marina, boat repair and maintenance yards, and a paint and glass shop. The complaint alleges that CMS: failed to make adequate hazardous waste determinations and properly maintain and operate one of its facilities in a way that minimizes the possibility of a release of hazardous wastes; failed to have an adequate hazardous waste training program; transported hazardous waste without a permit; and discharged storm water without a permit. Samples collected around the paint and glass shop also showed elevated levels of barium, chromium and cadmium as well as hazardous levels of lead. CMS faces penalties up to the statutory maximum allowed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Clean Water Act (up to $32,500 per day for each RCRA violation and a maximum penalty of $157,500 for the CWA violations).
Clean Marine Engine Initiative
Traditional small boat engines are two-stroke carbureted engines, in which up to 30 percent of fuel passes through the combustion chamber unburned, or partially burned, thereby directly releasing some fuel into the water and air. This produces hydrocarbon emissions that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog. Gasoline discharged to the water elevates concentrations of benzene, MTBE and other toxics in lakes, ponds and coastal waters.
As part of the Clean Marine Engine Initiative, which began in 2002, EPA Regions 1 and 2, and our partners throughout the six New England states and New York State, conducted an outreach campaign to educate boaters about clean engines and where to find participating retailers. Based on data collected in 2005, nearly four-fifths of the outboard motors and watercraft engines sold in New England in the previous three years by participating retailers were low pollution models (four-stroke engines and two-stroke direct fuel injection engines). These cleaner engines help meet EPA low-pollution requirements by reducing air pollution by 75 percent or more, lowering gasoline discharges to the water, improving fuel efficiency by 35 to 50 percent, and using up to 50 percent less oil. Other benefits of these engines include easier starting, better response, and less smoke and noise.