April 2, 2013
The United States Environmental Protection Agency last week issued a final vessel general permit. It will replace the 2008 vessel general permit due to expire December 19.
The permit regulates discharges from commercial vessels in an effort to protect the nation’s waters from ship-borne pollutants and to reduce invasive species in United States waters.
The permit covers commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length, excluding military and recreational vessels. It regulates 27 specific discharge categories and is intended to provide improvements of the permit process and clarify discharge requirements.
In addition to its more stringent discharge standard on invasive species, the permit provides protection to the Great Lakes from the introduction of invasive species.
The permit also reduces the amount of administrative work for vessel owners and operators by eliminating duplicative requirements, allowing for more electronic record-keeping and reducing self-inspection frequency for vessels that are out of service for extended periods.
For more information about the EPA’s final vessel general permit, visit epa.gov/npdes/vessels.