Bottle Filling Stations Possible

OCEAN CITY – Members of a resort committee say they will consider a federal grant for public bottle filling stations.

Members of the Ocean City Coastal Resources Legislative Committee (Green Team) met last week with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Donna Morrow to discuss securing bottle filling stations through a federal grant.

Morrow told officials a working group of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean is currently considering a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to reduce marine debris. She said she was gauging the town’s interest in receiving bottle filling stations purchased with the grant money.

“This working group has already obtained one grant from the NOAA marine debris program targeting intentional balloon releases …,” she said. “The group got together and said ‘Hey, maybe we should put in an application to get money from NOAA where we can install these bottle filling stations in our five coastal, mid-Atlantic states.’ It would be a great way to encourage beachgoers, whether they are day-trippers, or they are there for a longer stay, to bring their reusable bottles.”

Morrow said the grant would require matching funds or in-kind contributions. Each station, she noted, would cost roughly $7,000.

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“You might be able to help us with a non-federal match,” she said. “Maybe public works could install them. That cost of installation could very easily meet the one-to-one match.”

Morrow said the working group would submit the grant application in the fall, with approval expected for next spring.

“If you guys want to get back to me with quantity, confirmed match, availability and possible locations … that’s really all we would need at this point,” she said. “When we submit our letter of intent, we would probably need a letter of support.”

Gail Blazer, environmental engineer for the town, said it was something the committee would discuss. She said the town could consider installing one station near the Boardwalk as a pilot program.

“We’re here to figure out what it is you need from the town to maybe move this forward,” she said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.