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Commercial Vessel Discharge Standards

VesselOn December 4, 2018, the President signed into law the "Vessel Incidental Discharge Act" (VIDA) (PDF) (Title IX of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018). VIDA restructures the way EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regulate incidental discharges, primarily from commercial vessels, into waters of the United States and the contiguous zone. Specifically, VIDA amends Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 312 to include a new subsection (p) titled “Uniform National Standards for Discharges Incidental to Normal Operation of Vessels.” Subsection 312(p) requires EPA to develop new national standards of performance for commercial vessel discharges and the USCG to develop corresponding implementing regulations. View more information on VIDA and its applicability

The following interim requirements apply until EPA publishes future standards and the USCG publishes corresponding implementing regulations (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.  

View more information on the interim requirements:

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

For information on the regulation and control of vessel sewage under CWA Section 312, visit EPA's Vessel Sewage Discharges page.