Going Green: Cape May-Lewes Ferry Environmental Initiatives
The Delaware Bay is famous for the color blue, but here at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, we're focused on going green. Driving towards sustainability and taking proactive steps to reduce our environmental impact not only protects the delicate ecosystem of the Delaware Bay now, it helps ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy and cherish the area as much as we do today.
What We're Doing: Aboard Our Vessels
Beginning with the M/V Delaware, on which work was completed in 2016, we have now recently completed the process of repowering our second vessel, the M/V New Jersey. While repowering will provide an estimated annual savings of more than $130,000 per vessel due to less required maintenance, more importantly, it will also result in a 40% reduction in emissions for each vessel. What does a 40% reductions in emissions represent? It's equal to:
- 39 tons of Nitrogen Oxide
- 443 tons of CO2
- 840 pounds of particulate matter
That's equivalent to the emissions from twelve diesel semi-trucks!
What about our 3rd vessel, the M/V Cape Henlopen? At this point, we have started to focus on a new ferry fleet, and are hopeful that the new ferries will replace her. Discussions about the new ferries have included the option to make them (at least partially) battery-powered. When running on batteries – the new vessels would have ZERO emissions!
We've updated our vacuum toilet flushing system, which has resulted in an over 50% reduction in the use of fresh water for flushing, installed a dry seal system on the main propulsion shafts aboard the M/V Delaware and M/V New Jersey, which reduces our accumulated bilge water by over 20 gallons per day. Similar system installs are planned for the M/V Cape Henlopen as well.
All vessels are moving steadily to the use of LED lights, which reduce energy consumption by as much as 80%. And these lights last 5 times as long, thus reducing waste.
WATER BOTTLE FILLING STATIONS
We've added water bottle filling stations to each of the vessels to encourage passengers and crew members to use refillable bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles, which has resulted in saving over 7,000 water bottles since August of 2019!
WHAT WE'RE DOING: AT THE TERMINALS AND ASHORE
WASTE REDUCTION AND RECYCLING
We've instituted facility-wide waste management and recycling changes to improve business practices, data management, site infrastructure, supplier relations, local and regional government outreach and environmental education. This holistic approach to site recycling improvement has created a more informed employee base, allowed for accurate and consistent recycling data to be collected and integrated into the Lower Township / Cape May County MUA - NJDEP annual reporting, supported ease of recycling by customers, reduced the amount of waste generated, and increased the amount of material recycled into economic markets.
In addition to our water bottle filling stations, we've...
- Added new, larger recycling bins for customers.
- Added new employee recycling bins
- Increased our recycling reporting and tonnage
IMPROVED STORM WATER QUALITY
We have over 60 storm water drains on-site, and on-site activities can have an impact to surface runoff and water quality. To ensure minimal impacts to the adjacent water bodies, we've implemented several best practices:
- Improved Site Waste Collection - The CMLF Green Team - working with Waste Management, Inc. - obtained a totally enclosed/covered roll-off container for solid waste and trash generated by the facility. The new designed roll-off improves water quality by preventing storm water from entering and running off containerized trash and solid waste; and then entering storm drains. It also helps minimize litter from high winds at the facility from blowing material out of the container.
- Installed Storm Water Drain Guards - Storm water drain guards were installed in passenger parking areas to prevent blowing litter and trash / plastic bottles from entering the facility storm water system. Action was taken after a storm water permit inspection discovered a significant amount of litter, trash and debris was entering our storm water collection system in the customer parking area of the ferry terminal. We procured and installed inlet screens with visible 'No Dumping' messages on over 60 storm drains.
- Certified Under PVA Green Waters - We applied for, and received, certification in the Passenger Vessel Association's (PVA) Green Ship Program aimed at reducing waste, ocean pollution/litter and operating in a greener more sustainable environment.
We continue to look for energy efficiency opportunities and more recently, sources of renewable energy, including enlisting the assistance of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to pursue energy efficiency improvement and renewable energy opportunities.
- Working with the BPU, we were able to outline the various incentive programs offered by the state of New Jersey, and discuss how those programs could help meet our short- and long-term energy and environmental stewardship goals. We immediately participated in the Local Government Energy Audit program to identify areas of improvement, and action was taken to implement improvements that could be addressed immediately, such as continuing to upgrade to lighting with LED bulbs, and utilizing energy efficient equipment.
- We were successfully awarded a grant under NJDEP’s “It Pays to Plug In” program, and recently completed the installation of two electric car charging stations for the public to use at the Cape May Lewes Ferry Terminal.
By successfully working with the State of New Jersey, we've been able to identify areas for environmental improvement and are continuing to implement green business practices that not only impact the Ferry, but all of those who live and visit Cape May County.
- Increased Local and Regional Outreach with Recycling Professionals - Meetings were held with CMCMUA (Lynn Crumbock), Lower Twp. (Linda Thomas) and Cape May City (Pat D'Arco) along with Cape May County Municipal Recycling Coordinators to exchange recycling and environmental education material for distribution to employees and the public and outline sharing of best practices to improve recycling at the site and county.
- Creation and Hosting of World Environmental Days - With emphasis on recycling and prevention of plastic ocean pollution. Vendors such as the US Coast Guard, CCMUA, City of Cape May, Atlantic City Electric and Lower Twp. Recycling Offices sponsored information booths. Employees and patrons were able to visit vendors and learn about recycling, energy-efficiency, alternative energy and marine plastic pollution. Also at the event was e-waste recycling collection for employees to promote proper management and recycling of their electronics and e-waste.
- Recognition for Environmental Results - Lyn Crumbock, Cape May County Recycling Coordinator, recognized our efforts and the results of our recycling program and community involvement through the presentation of a Cape May County Municipal Utility Authority Recycling Excellence Award. Crumbock, on behalf of the CMCMUA, delivered a trophy to our Director of Environmental and Health Services for “Recycling Excellence." By working closely with various recyclers servicing the facility, we've increased routine documentation of recycling tonnage for the annual NJDEP tonnage grant report filed with the Township and County. And, in October 2019, the Northeast Recycling Council Environmental Sustainability Award was presented to the DRBA by Rick Watson, COO DSWA.