Clean Marine Solutions, LLC (CMS) has been awarded a North Carolina Green Business Fund Grant of $84,600 to fund their business concept that offers an affordable solution for boat yards and marinas to meet environmental compliance standards. The grant is administered by the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology.  Governor Bev Perdue announced the award at a press conference at the corporate headquarters of Innovatech in Morrisville, NC on August 7.

Governor Perdue and David Flagler at the NC Green Business Fund Award Winners Announcement Ceremony


David Flagler, Clean Marine Solutions President, says the goal of the project is to reduce the negative environmental impact caused by discharge of copper-laden, toxic wastewater that is generated from power washing boats. “Our unique ‘no-discharge’ prototype reduces a 50 gallon drum of toxic wastewater to less than a cup of dry particulate that is easily permitted for disposal.”

CMS, based in Wilmington, North Carolina, designs and manufactures wastewater treatment systems and offers environmental compliance consulting services for marine service facilities that decide to take the next step in their “Go Green” initiatives and bring their power wash operations in alignment with the Federal Clean Water Act.

“Copper is the most common heavy metal found in marina waters,” Flagler says. “It negatively impacts the marine eco-system in a variety of ways.”

For example, a healthy oyster removes oxygen-depleting nitrogen as it filters more than 50 gallons of water a day. But copper reduces the natural cleansing ability of oysters and other mollusks, and affects their ability to reproduce.

“The impact of toxic wastewater discharge increases exponentially as mollusks and algae are eaten by animals higher on the food chain,” says Flagler.


There are presently few service boat yards or marinas in North Carolina, and relatively few nation-wide, whose power washing operations are in compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act.

According to Flagler, the grant will provide money for custom systems at four North Carolina marine service facilities.   The goal of Clean Marine Solutions is to help boat yards and marinas comply with the Federal Clean Water Act.

Flagler was formerly a tenured professor and director of the Marine Education and Training Center at Honolulu Community College, University of Hawai’i. He is also the former director of the North Carolina Marine Training and Education Center at Carteret Community College.

Flagler studied chemistry at the University of North Carolina and conducted his first experiments in marine wastewater treatment at Cape Fear Community College 20 years ago.

For sixteen years, he taught hands-on classes in the broad array of skills necessary to manufacture and service pleasure craft and trained marina operators and students in environmental compliance and marine wastewater treatment system operation.