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Problems persist from Greenport Village’s pump-out boat

Greenport Village’s pump-out boat only temporarily returned to service after engine trouble kept it sidelined between the start of boating season in May and July 1.

The pump-out boat, designed to collect waste from boats toilets so it doesn’t get flushed into the bay, returned to service July 1 with its new engine, Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said at the July 20 village work session, adding that it “should be fully functional for the rest of the season.”

But that changed once a pump failed shortly after the boat returned to action, Village Administrator Paul Pallas said at Thursday’s regular board meeting. He said the village has ordered a new pump.

“It’s definitely a high priority on my list,” Mr. Pallas said.

Mr. Hubbard said the boat had some problems toward the end of the boating season last September, and then it had an issue with the motor in the spring.

He said the village then bought a new motor for the boat and put it back in service as of July 1.

“Then the pump broke,” he said.

Ian Wile, a Greenport resident and boater, said he was shocked to hear the boat had been out of service, especially given the high volume of boats on the water.

“I’m concerned for the quality of our waterfront and whether there’s a schedule or interim solution like contracting a pump-out boat from a private marina,” he said at the board meeting.

He added, “Despite whatever assurances the boat owners would give you, if there’s no pump-out boat, they are for certain going to empty their tanks, rather than wait for the Port-a-John.”

Greenport Harbor, Sterling Creek and the Peconic Estuary are federally- and state-designated no discharge zones, in which it’s illegal to dump waste from a boat into the water because of the negative impact that has on water quality.

Mr. Pallas pointed out that the village pump-out station, on the end of the Mitchell Park marina, is still working and available for boaters’ use.

Both Mr. Wile and village harbor patrol officer Peter Harris said most boaters prefer to have the pump-out boat come to them, become their boats get “banged around” at the dock if there’s a lot of boat traffic.

Mr. Harris also suggested that the village sign an interim agreement with a private marina that has a pump-out boat.

“I’ve had numerous boaters ask me about the pump-out boat,” Mr. Harris said.

“It boggles my mind,” said resident Bill Swiskey. “We knew what condition this pump-out boat was in last year when we put it away. We knew that it needed help. How do we get to May and start the season in that condition?”

Photo caption: A Greenport Village pump-out boat pictured Tuesday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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