SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Scores of dilapidated boats litter the delta. Now a new bill would set aside money to remove the vessels in five Delta counties, including Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo.

Old ships and barges are sometimes deliberately dumped, leaking diesel fuel or lead paint into the water.

The classic case was the “Spirit of Sacramento,” an old paddle wheeler that a man bought for $1000. When it sank, it cost taxpayers $3 million to remove.

A new bill would offset those costs by creating a salvage fund.

“We have plenty of issues. If we have the funds, we can very easily spend as much as they give us,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Madison.

If the legislature approves that bill, it would generate about $6.5 million per year to remove derelict vessels in the five Delta counties.

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