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Vessel Discharges

Vessel Discharges


EPA’s NPDES vessels program regulates incidental discharges from the normal operation of vessels. The NPDES vessels program does not regulate discharges from military vessels or recreational vessels. Instead, those are regulated by other EPA programs under section 312 of the Clean Water Act Incidental discharges from the normal operation of vessels include, but are not limited to, ballast water, bilgewater, graywater (e.g., water from sinks, showers), and anti-foulant paints (and their leachate). These discharges may result in negative environmental impacts via the addition of traditional pollutants or, in some cases, by contributing to the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species.

The centerpiece of the NPDES vessels program is the Vessel General Permit, also known as the VGP. Additionally, several research studies have been led or sponsored by the Vessel Program. Additional information discussing the vessel program’s activities follows on the pages below.

On March 28, 2013, EPA issued the 2013 Vessel General Permit. The permit will have an effective date of December 19, 2013. Please click here for more information.


Vessels One Time Report

Vessel General Permit (VGP)

2013 Final VGP and Factsheet

2013 Draft small Vessel General Permit (sVGP)

2008 VGP – Provides information about applicability, permit coverage, monitoring and reporting, and additional permit resources. Short descriptive fact sheets in English (PDF) (2 pp, 120KB), Chinese (PDF) (2 pp, 399KB), French (PDF) (2 pp, 203KB), Spanish (PDF) (2 pp, 202KB), and Russian (PDF) (2 pp, 216KB) are also provided.

EPA eNOI System – EPA’s Electronic Notice of Intent system (eNOI) can be used to file information about vessel permit Notice of Intent, search for information on vessel NOIs submitted by vessel owners and operators, as well as update or terminate coverage under each permit.  Use this system to search, sort and view vessel NOIs submitted by vessel owners and operators.

Background Information – Outlineshow EPA regulates incidental vessel discharges. Furthermore, identifies why the NPDES vessels program only regulates certain discharges, and only from certain vessels.

Report to Congress – Study of Discharges Incidental to Normal Operation of Commercial Fishing Vessels and Other Non-Recreational Vessels Less than 79 Feet.

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