Environmental protection agency




Environmental Protection Agency

The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment. Learn more about their mission and what they do.

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.

NPDES Permit Program
EPA's national Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program plays an important role in minimizing the wastes and pollution load released into receiving bodies. Find basic information on the major features and elements of the NPDES permit program.

Useful Links to Ballast Water Information


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