USCG Updates: VIDA was Signed Into Law
The White House announced the bill (S.140), which includes the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act of 2018 (VIDA), was signed into law on December 4, 2018, modifying the regulation of vessel incidental discharge and ballast water changes effected by the new law will be developed and phased in over a 2-year period. During this time, it’s important for owners to understand that the current EPA Vessel General Permit (VGP) requirements will remain in effect until new regulations are developed.
Important developments under VIDA are:
- The responsibilities of the USCG and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are clearly defined with the EPA responsible for setting discharge standards, in consultation with the USCG, and the USCG will enforce the standards.
- The USCG must take into account ballast water discharge standards that include organisms that are nonviable and must consider MPN test methods to evaluate organism viability in their USCG Type Approval for ballast water treatment systems.
- The US states are now severely limited in their ability to implement discharge standards that are different from those required by the Federal government.
- However, some allowance for states and regions to set, administer, and enforce vessel pollutant discharges still exists. For example, the bill provides certain exemptions from ballast water exchange requirements – such as the required distance from shore a commercial vessel must be when exchanging ballast water – for vessels operating between ports or destinations in Pacific Coast states or between Pacific Coast states and the pacific coasts of Canada and Mexico. The bill also provides a process for Great Lakes states, working through the Great Lakes Commission, to develop enhanced vessel discharge standards for vessels operating within the Great Lakes System and submit them to the EPA and Coast Guard for approval.
USCG Type Approvals
The USCG has announced the following USCG Type Approval updates:
- The 19th Type Approval application was submitted to the USCG for the UV Compact Clean BWMS manufactured by DESMI Ocean Guard A/S.
- The USCG received the 20th Type Approval application for the Aquarius UV BWMS manufactured by Wärtsilä Water Systems Ltd.
- The USCG received the 21st Type Approval application from Cathelco Ltd. for the Cathelco Evolution BWMS.
- The USCG announced issuance of the 12th USCG Type Approval certificate to Qingdao Headway Technology Co., Ltd. for the OceanGuard BWMS.
- The USCG announced issuance of the 13th USCG Type Approval certificate to JFE Engineering Corporation for the BallastAce BWMS.
The USCG has continued to maintain a current list of approved BWMS and the status of Type Approval applications.