Permitting Outside the Box – Drive in Boatwash

Drive-in Boatwash is a new and innovative machinery resembling a car wash, but for the boating community, with an overall purpose of providing boaters an environmentally friendly way to clean boat hulls and reduce the need for toxic anti-fouling paint. Cummins Cederberg successfully completed environmental permitting for two new Drive-in Boatwash systems in South Florida at Sweetwater Landing Marina, situated along the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, and Sea Isle Marina, located within the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve in Miami.

The boatwash is a fully contained floating system that washes the hull of the boat mechanically with the use of brushes and sea water only, without the use of chemicals. The brushes are composed of a plastic, which have the shape of long straws and can bend relatively easily when under pressure, providing a gentle cleaning method. The entire wash takes about 15-20 minutes. This new hull cleaning technology is intended to reduce the use of anti-fouling paint on boat hulls which can release toxic metals into the water contributing to the degradation of water quality.

A Department of the Army Regional General Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and an Exemption “De minimis” from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) were required to install and operate the Drive-in Boatwash at Sweetwater Landing Marina. The boatwash at Sea Isle Marina was more difficult to permit, as it is located in the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, which has very strict regulations because the concern for water quality is very high. This not only required a Department of the Army Regional General Permit from USACE, but also a Statewide Environmental Resource Permit (SWERP) from FDEP and a Miami-Dade County Division of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) Class 1 Coastal Construction Permit.

Agencies were initially hesitant, Cummins Cederberg staff worked with DERM and FDEP to develop and incorporate into the permit conditions an appropriate water quality and sediment monitoring plan to determine whether the boatwash would negatively impact the surrounding environment. Water and sediment quality monitoring was conducted for turbidity and seven metals (arsenic, chromium, copper, iron, lead, zinc and mercury). The Drive-in Boatwash was installed August 2018 at Sea Isle Marina and water quality monitoring and sediment testing were completed April 2019. The results indicated the boatwash operation does not result in adverse impacts to water or sediment quality and the Drive-in Boatwash remains operating and in full compliance with all environmental regulatory agencies.

This environmentally friendly boatwash method has become rapidly popular among the boating community because of its accessibility, time savings and economic benefits to the consumer. Cummins Cederberg is pleased to continue its environmental consulting services for the permitting of several Drive-in Boatwash‘s located around the country including Texas (Lake Texoma, Clear Lake and Lake Minnetonka), Missouri (Lake of the Ozarks), and Puerto Rico (Salinas).

Gina ChielloPermitting Outside the Box – Drive in Boatwash

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