Vessel Incidental Discharge Act VIDA
On December 4, 2018, the "Vessel Incidental Discharge Act" (VIDA) (Title IX of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018) became law. 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.
VIDA will replace EPA's 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP).
VIDA will eventually replace EPA's 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP). 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.
Visit EPA's vessel discharge page for more information (leaves DEC website).
New York's Final Water Quality Certification for EPA's 2013 VGP & VIDA
Section 401(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) allows states to attach additional limitations and requirements to a Federal permit. Both the Final Water Quality Certification to EPA's Proposed 2013 VGP & sVGP (PDF), the associated Fact Sheet (PDF), and the associated responsiveness summary (PDF).
2013 VGP and sVGP
The current VGP and sVGP were finalized by EPA in 2013. The VGP acknowledges that numerous aquatic invasive species (AIS), a pollutant whose discharge must be controlled under the Clean Water Act (CWA), have been introduced into waters of the United States through the discharge of ballast water. DEC provided comments on the permit while it was in draft and is pleased with the improvements made in the VGP regarding gray water discharge effluent limitations, the retention of the requirement that vessels exchange and flush ballast water for certain vessels entering the Great Lakes, the inclusion of pathogen monitoring requirements for vessels using ballast water treatment systems, and requirements to address "hull fouling" - a significant pathway for the introduction of AIS. Other measures, however, are needed to adequately address significant vector pathways for the introduction of AIS. DEC forwarded comments on the draft VGP to EPA, including Enclosure A (PDF).
Division of Water
Albany, NY 12233-3500