Vessel General Permit
EPA currently regulates vessel discharges with the Vessel General Permit (VGP). The current permit, the 2008 Vessel General Permit (VGP) is in effect until December 19, 2013. To view the permit and information on the 2008 VGP, click here.
On March 28, 2013, EPA issued the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) to authorize discharges incidental to the normal discharge of operations of commercial vessels. The 2013 VGP has an effective date of December 19, 2013. This site is intended to answer many questions the commercial vessel owner/operator may have concerning the final VGP. EPA intends to finalize the small Vessel General Permit (sVGP) later this year.
More information will be posted in the coming months to provide key details on the permit, including a permit overview, how to obtain authorization under the permit, monitoring and reporting requirements, and additional permitting resources.
For a brief overview of the final permit, click here (PDF) (1 pg, 151K).
To see the support documents used to develop the final 2013 VGP and draft 2013 sVGP and to see public comments on the permits, please search and view the dockets at http://www.regulations.gov. The docket numbers for the two permits are as follows:
Final 2013 VGP – EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0141
Note: all documents in the docket will be available within 2 weeks of notice of the permit in the Federal Register (around April 18)
Draft 2013 Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP) (PDF) (24
EPA’s Public Participation in VGP finalization
EPA provided the public with a 75 day comment period on the VGP. Additionally, the EPA held public meetings, webcasts, and engaged in tribal consultation. For additional information regarding the public participation process, please see the VGP Fact Sheet and the Response to Comments Document contained in the VGP’s public docket.
The 2008 Vessel General Permit (VGP) regulates discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels operating in a capacity as a means of transportation. The VGP includes general effluent limits applicable to all discharges; general effluent limits applicable to 26 specific discharge streams; narrative water-quality based effluent limits; inspection, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements; and additional requirements applicable to certain vessel types.
Recreational vessels as defined in section 502(25) of the Clean Water Act are not subject to this permit. In addition, with the exception of ballast water discharges, non-recreational vessels less than 79 feet (24.08 meters) in length, and all commercial fishing vessels, regardless of length, are not subject to this permit. Click here to find out how to obtain authorization to discharge under the VGP.
EPA signed the final VGP on December 18, 2008, with an effective date of December 19, 2008. This permit expires on December 18, 2013 and will be replaced by the 2013 VGP (see above).
Short fact sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 120KB) describing applicability, general requirements, and example effluent limits for the VGP. The fact sheet is also available in the following languages:
The following documents include the Vessel General Permit, the Vessel General Permit Fact Sheet, and other supporting documents and information:
Final Permit (PDF) (165 pp, 1.2MB)
Vessels of 300 gross tons or more or have the ability to hold or discharge more than 8 cubic meters of ballast must submit an NOI in order to receive permit coverage.
Terminating Authorization Under the VGP
If you are required to submit an NOI, and subsequently meet one of the conditions identified in the VGP for terminating coverage, you must submit a Notice of Termination (NOT), preferably to the Vessels eNOI system. However, if you cannot access the system, you may use the paper NOT (PDF) (2 pp, 252K) instead.
Monitoring, Reporting, and Contact Information for Filing Reports
Additional information on monitoring, reporting, and contact information for filing noncompliance reports can be found under Monitoring and Reporting.
Additional Permit Resources
Descriptions of additional resources, including listings of changes to the permit since issuance and listings of nutrient impaired waters can be found under Additional Permit Resources.
If you are a third party and wish to report a violation of EPA's Vessel General Permit please refer to EPA's Report an Environmental Violation.
For additional supporting materials, including the VGP response to comments document can be found at www.regulations.gov under docket number EPA- HQ-OW-2008-0055.
For questions on the VGP, email VGP@epa.gov.
For questions on the sVGP, email sVGP@epa.gov.