Clean Vessel Act Grant Program

Did you know one gallon of sewage from a boat has as much bacteria as 10,000 gallons of treated municipal wastewater? It is important to make sure sewage from boats is properly managed. Sewage discharged from boats may degrade water quality by introducing disease-causing microorganisms into the marine environment. Oxygen levels in the water will decrease as the sewage decays. High fecal coliform bacteria counts may close waters to swimming and other primary contact recreational activities, hurting tourism and deteriorating the quality of life for all of us.

The Federal Clean Water Act requires all boats with an installed head to have one of three types of Coast Guard-approved marine sanitation devices (MSD’s) attached to the toilet. The most common is a holding tank to store sewage on the boat. Since it is against the law to discharge marine sewage of any type into Oklahoma waterways, the tank must be emptied at a marina pump-out station. Odor-reducing chemicals that may be added to the tank do not treat the sewage. Oklahoma law requires that the Y-valve incorporated into the MSD be locked. Penalties for misuse of MSDs are enforced.

Diagram of Pump flow from Y valve

Applying for a Grant
Marinas that wish to install a pump-out station, upgrade existing sewage management facilities, implement educational programs for their boating customers, or make other sewage management improvements may be eligible for a grant that will reimburse up to 75% of the cost for these enhancements.

DEQ manages the Clean Vessel Act grants for projects within Oklahoma. The window to apply for a grant typically runs from September 1st to October 31st each year. To learn more about the Clean Vessel Act Grant Program and how to apply for a grant contact:

Cheryl Dirck, Environmental Programs Specialist
Department of Environmental Quality
Office of External Affairs
Phone: (405) 702-8179