Pumpout Station Will Address Need in Puget Sound

The South Sound of Puget Sound in Washington State has many recreational boaters but no public pumpout station to accommodate them. Thanks to state and federal grants, Longbranch Marina, located on the Filucy Bay in the South Sound, should be installing a pumpout station that will resolve that problem sometime this year.

Longbranch Marina is a public marina located near the southern end of Key Peninsula in Pierce County. The land portion of the marina, which includes a large covered pavilion area, is owned and operated by a volunteer group, the Longbranch Improvement Club (LIC).

The marina operates year-round and has about 50 moorage slips along its 400-foot dock, according to Katie Harrison, the dockmaster and the marina’s only paid employee.

LIC leases the water portion of the marina from the state’s Department of Natural Resources and has worked with Pierce County to provide parking for the marina. Under the terms of its agreement with both entities, LIC must help maintain the natural environment. That made Longbranch Marina a logical choice for the pumpout station, which will be available to the public at no charge.

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Up to $250,000 in funds for the pumpout station will come from the federal Clean Vessel Act and from grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, according to Brett Allen, a volunteer with the LIC who is overseeing the project. “The first phase of development, which includes the pumpout station, will be under construction in 2020, once we get the permits,” he said. Other phases, which are yet to be determined, could include an extension the marina.

This first phase should also include the construction of a freestanding rest room area in the marina’s parking lot. That will replace the portable toilets that are currently used.

Longbranch Marina recently upgraded the electrical system on its docks, putting in new breakers that will trip if the difference between the amount of electricity flowing into a circuit and the amount flowing out exceeds 30 milliamps.