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Incidental Discharge Permitting

On December 4, 2018, the President signed into law the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) (Title IX of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018)(175 pp, 567 K, About PDF). VIDA restructures the way the EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regulate discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel when operating as a means of transportation (“incidental discharges”). Incidental discharges include a broad range of discharges such as ballast water, bilgewater, graywater (e.g., water from sinks, showers), and deck washdown and runoff.

View more information on the regulatory process and future requirements of VIDA.

Prior to VIDA, EPA regulated incidental discharges from commercial vessels under the NPDES permitting program, primarily through two NPDES general permits: the Vessel General Permit (VGP) and the Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP).

For information on the regulation and control of vessel sewage under Clean Water Act Section 312, visit EPA's Vessel Sewage Discharges webpage.