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By Donna Cipolloni

Tester staff writer

For the 15th time, Point Patience Marina at Navy Recreation Center Solomons has been named a Certified Clean Marina by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The DNR’s Clean Marina Initiative offers marina and boatyard operators the opportunity to participate in efforts to protect Maryland’s natural resources by meeting rigorous pollution prevention standards. Approximately 25 percent of the state’s estimated 600 marinas have been certified as clean marinas.

“Inspectors from the DNR came out and went through an entire checklist,” said Jen Marchant-Beavers, NRC Solomons recreation director. “They observed, asked questions and requested our material safety data sheets, which list all the chemicals we use. We earned a ‘certified’ rating, and that’s the best rating there is.”

As part of the initiative, NRC staff pledge to keep Maryland’s waterways free of harmful chemicals, excess nutrients and debris by properly monitoring petroleum, sewage, waste containment and disposal, storm water management and any vessel maintenance or repair done by their customers.

“Our patrons can only use water to rinse off their boats; never soap,” Marchant-Beavers said. “It’s our responsibility to insure that everyone in our slips or dry storage is adhering to all guidelines, not discharging anything into the water or using paints or chemicals in an uncontrolled environment.”

Working with Port Operations at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Marchant-Beavers and five other staff members also participate in annual Facility Response Team training, so they’ll be prepared should an oil spill ever occur.

“We learn how to contain oil in the water with booms and how to clean it up using the [rapid response oil skimmer],” she said. “It’s a week-long session each summer.”

As a Certified Clean Marina, it’s not just their patrons and Maryland’s waterways that benefit, NRC Solomons is able to flaunt the sought-after rating in all advertising and publicity, and the Initiative will further promote the facility through the DNR website, publications, public displays and media releases.

“In the past, it also helped us win grant money which paid for a new pump-out station,” Marchant-Beavers said.

Operated by Morale, Welfare and Recreation, NRC Solomons is the largest outdoor recreation facility in the Navy and was the first government-owned military marina in Maryland to receive a clean marina certification.