oEPA
    United States
    Environmental Protection
    Agency
  United States Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Water, Office of Wastewater Management
             Water Permits Division

       November 2011  EPA-800-F-11-002
Draft 2013 Vessel General Permit and Small Vessel
                General Permit
   On November 30, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed the Draft 2013
   National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Vessel General Permit (VGP) and Small
   Vessel General Permit (sVGP).
   Background
   On March 30, 2005, the U.S. District Court for
   the Northern District of California (in
   Northwest Environmental Advocates et al. v.
   EPA) ruled that the EPA regulation excluding
   discharges incidental to the normal operation
   of a vessel from NPDES permitting exceeded
   the Agency's authority under the Clean
   Water Act (CWA). EPA appealed the District
   Court's decision, and on July 23, 2008, the
   Ninth Circuit upheld the decision. In
   response, EPA developed the Vessel General
   Permit to regulate discharges from vessels.
   EPA signed the VGP on December 18, 2008,
   with an effective date of February  6, 2009.
   The draft VGP currently being proposed
   would replace the current 2008 VGP when it
   expires on December 19,  2013.

   The draft Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP),
   if finalized, would authorize discharges
   incidental to the normal operation of non-
   military and non-recreational vessels less
   than 79 feet in length. Currently, a
   Congressional moratorium (initiated by
   Public Law 110-299 and subsequently
   extended by Public Law 111-215) exempts all
   incidental discharges, with the exception of
   ballast water, from commercial fishing
                          vessels and non-recreational, non-military
                          vessels less than 79 feet in length from
                          having to obtain a Clean Water Act permit
                          until December 18, 2013. The Small Vessel
                          General Permit would provide permit
                          coverage for these entities after that date.

                          Summary of the Proposed 2013 Draft VGP
                          The 2013 draft VGP would  continue to
                          regulate 26 specific discharge categories that
                          were contained in the 2008 VGP, and for the
                          first time, would authorize the discharge of
                          fish hold effluent (which was previously
                          exempt by Public Law 111-215).

                          For the first time, the draft VGP contains
                          numeric ballast water discharge limits for
                          most vessels. The draft VGP also contains
                          more stringent effluent limits for oil to sea
                          interfaces and exhaust gas scrubber
                          washwater, which would improve
                          environmental protection of U.S. waters. EPA
                          has also improved the efficiency of several of
                          the VGP's administrative requirements,
                          including allowing electronic recordkeeping,
                          requiring an annual report in lieu of the one-
                          time report and annual noncompliance
                          report, and requiring small vessel owners
                          and/or operators to obtain coverage  under

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the VGP by completing and agreeing to the
terms of a Permit Authorization and Record
of Inspection form.

Summary of the Proposed 2013 Draft sVGP
The sVGP is organized by discharge
management categories. All covered
discharges are located in these categories.
The discharge management categories in the
draft sVGP include fuel management, engine
and oil control, solid and liquid maintenance,
graywater management, fish hold effluent
management, and ballast water
management.

All vessels eligible for coverage under the
sVGP will receive coverage at the time and
date of the expiration of the moratorium,
December 18, 2013. As a requirement of this
permit, vessel owner/operators must
complete the sVGP Permit Authorization and
Record of Inspection (PARI) form. The  PARI
form must be signed and maintained
onboard the vessel for the entire permit
term.  Additionally, the permittee must
conduct an annual self-inspection and certify
that he or she has done so by signing the
form each year.

How to Comment

EPA will accept comment on the proposed
permits for 75 days after publication in the
Federal Register. Comments for the draft VGP
should go to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-
2011-0141 and comments for the draft sVGP
should go to EPA-HQ-OW-2011-150.
Comments may be submitted by one of the
following methods:
   1.  Online at
      http://www.regulations.gov; Follow
      the online instructions for submitting
      comments.
   3. Mail to: Water Docket, U.S.
      Environmental Protection Agency,
      Mail Code: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania
      Avenue NW Washington DC 20460
      Attention Docket ID No: EPA-HQ-OW-
      2011-{place appropriate number
      here}.

      Such deliveries are only accepted
      during the docket's normal hours of
      operation, and special arrangements
      should be made for deliveries of
      boxed  information.

Public Meetings and Webcast

EPA will hold two public meetings and one
webcast to give an overview of the proposed
permits and to take comment. The meetings
are scheduled as follows:

     January 11, 2012, 9:00 am -5:00 pm
      (EST) or until all comments have been
      heard at EPA East 1153,1201
      Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC
      20460.

     January 23, 2012, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
      (CST) or until all comments have been
      heard at Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal
      Building, Room 331, 77 West Jackson
      Blvd, Chicago IL 60604.

     Webcast TBD.  For more information
      on the upcoming webcast, visit
      http://www.epa.gov/npdes/vessels.

For More Information

Visit  http://www.epa.gov/npdes/vessels.

For questions  about the VGP, email
VGP@epa.gov.

For questions  about the sVGP, email
sVGP@epa.gov.
   2.  Email ow-docket@epa.gov.

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