What Are Vessel General Permits?

You may have heard the term “vessel general permits.” Do you know what vessel general permits are?

What Are Vessel General Permits?

A vessel general permit is a compilation of the requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency that regulate 26 different emissions and effluents from marine vessels to maintain clean waterways.

Why Was the Vessel General Permit Developed?

EPA regulations did not originally include marine vessels in their pollutant laws. In February 2009, the EPA responded to the urging of environmental groups to eliminate the exclusion and regulate pollutants that are discharged from marine vessels over 79 feet in length.

In 2013, the EPA amended the requirements to include all marine vessels regardless of size, excluding only recreational vessels from the regulations.

Which Discharges Must Comply With the Vessel General Permit?

The VGP regulates almost all emissions and effluents from marine vessels, including, but not limited to:

  • Deck washdown
  • Bilge water
  • Boiler blowdown
  • Cathodic protection
  • Chain locker effluent
  • Fire main systems
  • Graywater discharges

What Is the Penalty for Non-Compliance?

Marine vessels that do not comply with vessel general permits can be subject to substantial fines. Violations can cost vessel owners anywhere from $10,000 to over $125,000, depending on the size of the vessel and the number of days in violation. Negligent or willful violations can result in criminal charges.

Now you know what vessel general permits are. Use this information to avoid non-compliance penalties.