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National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)


The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) legislation, enacted on December 4, 2018, repeals the Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP) issued on September 10, 2014 for the control of incidental discharges for vessels less than 79 feet in length (i.e., small vessels). That permit is no longer in effect. The VIDA legislation also specifies that, except for ballast water, discharges incidental to the normal operation of small vessels and commercial fishing vessels of all sizes no longer require NPDES permit coverage.

Final 2014 sVGP (Repealed)

EPA issued the 2014 sVGP with an effective period from December 19, 2014 to December 18, 2019 (i.e., five years). The sVGP and provided NPDES permit coverage for incidental discharges from non-military, non-recreational (typically commercial) vessels less than 79 feet in length (i.e., "small vessels"). However, as described above, the VIDA legislation repeals the sVGP as of December 4, 2018. Permit coverage for any vessel covered under the sVGP as of the date of enactment of VIDA legislation is automatically terminated. No further action on the part of vessel operators is required to complete this termination. Any small vessel or commercial fishing vessel covered under the sVGP at the time of enactment of VIDA that discharges ballast water into waters of the U.S. must comply with the requirements of the VGP for those ballast water discharges.

Discharge Authorization

  • Permit Authorization and Record of Inspection (PARI) Form – Vessel owners/operators must complete this form to obtain coverage under the 2014 sVGP (as described in Part 1 of the permit).
  • Pursuant to Part 1.5(f) of the sVGP, EPA authorizes small vessels to obtain coverage for their ballast water discharges under the sVGP (regardless of whether those discharges were covered under the 2008 VGP). In accordance with Part 1.6.2 of the VGP, if you submitted an NOI to obtain coverage under the VGP for your ballast water discharges, you must submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) within 30 days of when you obtain coverage under the sVGP in order to be released from the requirements of the VGP. This authorization does not apply to discharges from vessels covered by any NPDES permit that has been or is in the process of being denied, terminated, or revoked by EPA or state permitting authorities.

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