Office of Communications

Frequently Asked Questions regarding PUMPOUT STATION GRANTS

Thank you
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Boating Services, would like to thank you for beginning the process that will result in your marina having a marine sewage pumpout facility. We appreciate your participation in this program and our staff stands ready to assist you in any way we can.

What is the Pumpout Program?
Essentially, Maryland's pumpout grant program allows a public or private marina to receive a reimbursement of up to $15,000 for the purchase and installation of a new pumpout. Installing such a system at your marina will give boaters a proper method of disposing of their sewage and thus prevent it from entering Maryland's waters. Supplemental funding for pumpout operations and maintenance is also available as is funding to upgrade/replace pumpouts to those who received grant funds.

Some Commonly Asked Questions
This program's basic requirements are contained in the grant contract, however, we thought it would be useful to answer some of the most commonly asked questions. If you have more questions, please call us at (410)260-8772. We will be happy to help you with any questions or concerns.

  1. What pumpout would be best for my marina?
    DNR is not affiliated with any pumpout manufacturer and, because we are a state agency, we cannot recommend any particular system. We are happy, however, to discuss your marina's situation with you and to offer you general guidance. We are also happy to provide you with literature on a variety of systems on the market. We only ask that whatever system you select have the capability of pumping out boat holding tanks and properly disposing of portable toilet waste. Acceptable choices include systems with portable toilet dump stations (that work essentially like toilets) and systems with wand attachments (that pumpout the portable toilets).

    Before you select a system, we also suggest that you review the plans for your pumpout installation with the manufacturer and receive assurance (preferably in writing) that it will perform "as advertised" at your marina (with particular concern to the distance the sewage will be pumped, the number of turns, and any vertical pump distance). Given the environment the pumpout will be placed in, rust prevention and winterization requirements are also concerns. Although the number of choices for systems may appear overwhelming at first, help in making a decision is available from a number of sources, including the individual manufacturers and other marina owners that have previously obtained pumpouts.

  2. What permits are needed to install a pumpout?
    Each grant-funded pumpout installation must be approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). This approval is based upon the recommendation of the local jurisdiction, usually the health department. For this reason, your local health department is usually the best place to start. Although other permit requirements vary from area to area, we are often able to put you in touch with the right agencies and people to help you on your way. Also, please keep in mind that permit fees are reimbursable (up to the grant limit).

  3. What are the different installation options available?
    Not all contractors do both plumbing and electrical work, and some marinas are located in rural areas, where it may be difficult to obtain bids. Therefore, all marinas have a choice whether to have contractors do the labor or to do the labor in-house. If contractors do the labor, then competitive bids are required as noted below.

    When one contractor is going to complete the entire installation, then three competitive bids are required. If two or more contractors are to be used (to complete different portions of the installation), then two competitive bids are required for each portion to be completed by a contractor. For example, if both a plumber and an electrician are required, then two plumbing bids and two electrical bids should be obtained.

    Concerning labor that is completed in-house, the basic rule is that the state only reimburses marinas for approved out-of-pocket expenses specific and necessary to the installation of a pumpout (such as the salaries of marina employees for the time spent on the project). We do not reimburse for any "mark-up" such as you would charge a customer. If you're thinking of "doing it yourself," give us a call and we'll talk about it.

  4. If a marina has a problem paying the money "up-front" can special arrangements be made to help finance an installation?
    DNR is only allowed to reimburse a marina for the costs associated with purchasing and installing a pumpout. We cannot "up-front" the money. You can, however, make arrangements with us to receive partial reimbursements. You could even obtain a short-term loan from a bank and use the grant contract as collateral. (Sorry, we can't pay any interest.)

  5. How does a marina submit for its reimbursement and how long does it take to get the money?
    When you receive approval to purchase and install a pumpout, we will provide you with a blank invoice form. Simply fill out this form, attach suitable proofs of payment, and call us when the project is complete to set up an appointment for an inspection. You may present us with this documentation at the time of the inspection and you should receive your reimbursement in about one month. Note: The project need not be complete to receive a partial reimbursement for the purchase of pumpout equipment (as discussed above).

    A suitable proof of payment is considered to be a copy of a canceled check and that is ultimately what is required by us. We realize, however, that it takes time for checks to clear the bank so we will gladly process DNR's invoice provided you attach copies of the invoices that you have paid. These invoices must, however, have "Paid in Full" written on them and they must be dated and signed by an authorized representative of the company to whom you paid the money.

    NOTE: So that we may continue helping marinas in this manner, please don't forget to send us copies of the canceled checks when they come in.

Chesapeake Bay Hotline

Call 1-877-224-7229

to report any of the following

  • Boating accident or reckless activity
  • Fish kill or algal bloom
  • Floating debris that poses a hazard to navigation
  • Illegal fishing activity
  • Public sewer leak or overflow
  • Oil or hazardous material spill
  • Critical area or wetlands violation
  • Suspicious or unusual activity