Honey Pot Day – The Bay Foundation’s sewage disposal program – returns

Exchange program allows boaters to trade proper disposal of sewage for mobile pumpout service.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA—News outlets – including The Log – shared stories of how waterways and oceans experienced a decrease in pollution because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fewer boats were on the water, meaning oceans, harbors, lakes and rivers had less pollution. Decreased pollution also meant marine ecosystems and habitats were allowed to thrive.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to persist, and The Bay Foundation hopes its Honey Pot Day program will allow local waters to remain clean. A key theme of the program: sewage can be disposed of remotely.

Honey Pot Day returned for its 12th year on July 1. The program educates boaters on proper sewage disposal. Boaters can dispose of their sewage at a dedicated location in exchange for one complimentary pumpout service. The program has positioned itself as hands-free and virtual for a few years now – a theme organizers are especially highlighting in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The program runs through Sept. 30. Four Southern California harbors participate in Honey Pot Day: Marina del Rey; Redondo Beach’s King Harbor; the Port of Los Angeles; and, the Port of Long Beach.

The sewage disposal program and pumpout service is set up to be hands-free, which allows for Honey Pot Day to be a safe interaction.

“The pandemic presents a unique opportunity for recreational boaters to familiarize themselves with services they might not have considered utilizing beforehand,” Victoria Gambale, The Bay Foundation’s Community Engagement Program Manager, said. “Honey Pot Day will allow boaters to experience the supreme convenience of mobile pumpout services. These services are boat to boat and require zero contact; a boater doesn’t even have to be at their boat for it to take place. For both the environmental and public health benefits, the Honey Pot Day program is a great tool for LA County boaters to use this summer.”

The Bay Foundation launched Honey Pot Day to “remove barriers to pumping out sewage responsibly” and to “ultimately help reduce bacteria levels in L.A. County’s harbors.”

“Dumping one toilet flush of untreated boat sewage can cause the same environmental impacts as 10,000 flushes from a homeowner’s toilet,” The Bay Foundation staff said. “Through the program’s brief virtual quiz, boaters are engaged on the adverse impacts of raw sewage in local waterways, informed on convenient options available to prevent this, and incentivized to try out a mobile pumpout service with the complimentary service.”

Staff with The Bay Foundation said more than 1,200 boaters in L.A. County were educated about the effects of discharging sewage into the water. About 34,000 gallons of sewage – equivalent to 950,000 flushes of a home toilet – has already been disposed of through The Bay Foundation’s efforts, which includes Honey Pot Day, mobile pumpout services, a “Pumpout Nav” app and various educational programs.

The Division of Boating and Waterways, though the Clean Vessel Act program, provides some funding for Honey Pot Day. Funding for the sewage disposal program also comes from the federal Clean Vessel Act (part of the Sport Fish Restoration Program).

Boaters can sign up for Honey Pot Day online by visiting honeypotday.org. Once on the site boaters will be asked to review educational materials and take an online quiz.

Anyone with questions about the program can reach out to Santa Monica Bay’s Georgia Tunioli; her email is gtunioli@santamonicabay.org.

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