Houseboats Under Scrutiny Again

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

People are back living on their boats again and Town officials are concerned about the pumping of sewage into the water.

Director of Inspectional Services Al LeGee said is looks like people are back living on their boats and he’s questioning how they get rid of their sewage.

Last year the Town passed regulations for living on a boat, including obtaining a permit and having either a hard pump connected to the Town sewer system or they have a pump out service on a regular basis.

The regulations were implemented after it was discovered a boat was running a bed and breakfast, and other boats came to Winthrop after being squeezed out of their docks in Charlestown.

The regulations first require that houseboat owners who want to dock in Winthrop must obtain a Houseboat Marina Permit from the Town Manager. Each houseboat must have a permanent water supply with an individual backflow prevention valve. Permanent supply of electricity and water are needed. There also needs to be a sewer connection leading to a permanent sewer connection.

Houseboats also need to have 150 square feet for the first occupant and at least 100 square feet for each additional person.

LeGee said currently there are five houseboats at Captain Jack’s on Pleasant Street and two at the Winthrop Yacht Club.

“It’s a potential problem and I’ll be sending out an enforcement letter,” LeGee said. “I’ll be sending the letter to all five yacht clubs.”

He is concerned about the bacteria levels in the water at Donovan Beach. While his department tests the water from May to September he said the summer readings were fine but in September there was a high reading which makes him suspect that someone is dumping.

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