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National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Vessels-VGP

On December 4, 2018, the President signed into law the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) (Title IX of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018)(175 pp, 567 K, About PDF). VIDA requires EPA to develop new national standards of performance for commercial vessel incidental discharges and the U.S. Coast Guard USCG) to develop corresponding implementing regulations.

View more information on the regulatory process and future requirements of VIDA.

Pursuant to VIDA, the following interim requirements apply until EPA publishes future standards and the USCG publishes corresponding implementing regulations under VIDA (anticipated in 2022):

  • For large, non-fishing commercial vessels: The existing vessel discharge requirements established through the EPA 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) and the USCG ballast water regulations, and any applicable state and local government requirements.
  • For small vessels and fishing vessels of any size: The existing ballast water discharge requirements established through the EPA 2013 VGP and the USCG ballast water regulations, and any applicable state and local government requirements.

For information about who is eligible and how to obtain permit coverage for the interim requirements, see the “Discharge Authorization” and “Electronic Reporting” sections below.


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.

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Discharge Authorization

Notices of Intent (NOIs) submitted prior to VIDA continue to provide required VGP coverage. A new NOI is only required to correct any mistakes or to provide any information updates as described in the “Frequent Questions.”

The 2013 VGP provides two options for vessel owners/operators to obtain permit coverage:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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Implementation

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Electronic Reporting

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

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Search, Sort, and View VGP Reports

2013 VGP Search Tool

2008 VGP Search Tools:

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