The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (“VIDA”), signed into law on December 4, 2018, establishes a new framework for the regulation of vessel incidental discharges under Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 312(p). VIDA requires EPA to develop performance standards for those discharges within two years of enactment and requires the U.S. Coast Guard to develop implementation, compliance, and enforcement regulations within two years of EPA’s promulgation of standards.
Under VIDA, all provisions of the Vessel General Permit remain in force and effect until the U.S. Coast Guard regulations are finalized. In addition, VIDA repeals the sVGP. Therefore, non-military, non-recreational vessels greater than 79 feet in length must continue to comply with the requirements of the VGP, including submission of an NOI or retention of a PARI form and submission of annual reports. The VIDA legislation also repeals the sVGP so any non-military, non-recreational vessels less than 79 feet in length that discharge ballast water, including commercial fishing vessels, that were covered by the sVGP must now comply with the requirements of the VGP.
For information about who is eligible and how to obtain permit coverage, see the “Discharge Authorization” and “Electronic Reporting” sections below.
EPA first issued the Vessel General Permit (VGP) in 2008 and subsequently reissued it in 2013. The VGP provides for NPDES permit coverage for incidental discharges into waters of the United States from commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length and for ballast water from commercial vessels of all sizes. EPA estimates that approximately 61,000 domestically flagged commercial vessels and approximately 8,000 foreign flagged vessels require VGP permit coverage for such incidental discharges.
Final 2013 VGP
The EPA issued the 2013 VGP on April 12, 2013 with an effective period of December 19, 2013 to December 18, 2018 (i.e., five years). The VGP provided NPDES permit coverage nationwide for discharges incidental to the normal operation of commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length. However, as described above, the VIDA legislation extends the 2013 VGP’s provisions, leaving them in effect until new regulations are final and enforceable.
- Final 2013 VGP
- Federal Register Notice (PDF) – Announces permit issuance (April 12, 2013).(8 pp, 235 KB, About PDF)
- Fact Sheet– Provides the technical basis for the derivation of VGP requirements.
- Economic and Benefits Analysis – Presents the impact analyses of the VGP on all affected vessels.
- Permit Issuance Press Release
- Brief Overview of the Final Permit
- Public Record– A compilation of documents, including draft permit documents, considered in the issuance of the current 2013 VGP and now expired 2008 VGP:
The 2013 VGP provides two options for vessel owners/operators to obtain permit coverage:
- Notice of Intent (NOI) – Vessels of 300 gross tons or more or that have the ability to hold or discharge more than eight cubic meters of ballast water must submit an NOI to obtain permit coverage. The NOI must be submitted electronically using EPA’s 2013 VGP eNOI system.
- Final 2013 VGP Permit Authorization and Record of Inspection (PARI) Form – Vessels less than 300 gross tons and that do not have the capacity to hold or discharge more than eight cubic meters of ballast water are not required to submit an NOI. Instead, operators of these vessels must complete a PARI Form (Fill and Print), as provided in Appendix K of the 2013 VGP, and keep a copy of that form onboard the vessel at all times. Doing so provides coverage under the 2013 VGP for these vessels.
- Vessel Discharge Sample Collection and Analytical Monitoring: A How-To Reference for EPA’s 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP), September 2014 – Information on selecting a laboratory and sample collection, handling, and shipping procedures.
- Enforcement Response Policy for EPA’s 2013 VGP: Ballast Water Discharges and U.S. Coast Guard Extensions under 33 CFR Part 151– EPA, working with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), issued a policy on ballast water discharge requirements. Similarly, the USCG is processing requests for extensions of the compliance date for its ballast water discharge standard. The Extension Policy Letter, application instructions, and list of current granted extensions are available on USCG's internet portal.
- Lists of Nutrient and Copper Impaired Waters – The list of state waters that are impaired for copper and nutrients is based on current information that EPA has about each state's 303(d) list; however, this list may not necessarily reflect more recent state and/or EPA activity on those 303(d) lists (January 17, 2014).
The 2013 VGP requires electronic submission of NOIs, Notice of Terminations (NOTs), and annual reports.
- EPA's Central Data Exchange (CDX) – Register in EPA’s free, online system to submit electronic reports. If you registered for the 2008 VGP you must update your registration to submit 2013 VGP reports.
- EPA’s 2013 VGP eNOI System- Once registered, submit NOIs, NOTs, and annual reports using a CDX username and password to login. You may submit multiple reports at a time using a batch upload function.
- Waivers from the eNOI system are available in very limited instances, as detailed in Part 1.14 of the 2013 VGP, only after EPA written approval.
Send questions about EPA’s VGP eNOI system to: VGPeNOI@epa.gov
Search, Sort, and View VGP Reports
2013 VGP Search Tool
2008 VGP Search Tools:
- Search NOIs and NOTs submitted under the now expired 2008 VGP
- Search Vessel One-Time Reports (VOTRs) submitted under the now expired 2008 VGP