USCG releases final rule on ballast water discharge standards

Jeffrey Lantz, director of the Coast Guard's Office of Commercial Regulations and Standards, says that a just-released final rule on ballast water discharge will protect the marine environment and is consistent with the IMO discharge standard.

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday that the final rule for standards for living organisms in ships' ballast water discharged into waters of the United States is scheduled for publication March 23 in the Federal Register.

A public inspection copy of the final rule is already available online HERE.

The Coast Guard is amending its regulations on ballast water management by establishing a standard for the allowable concentration of living organisms in ballast water discharged from ships in waters of the United States. The Coast Guard is also amending its regulations for engineering equipment by establishing an approval process for ballast water management systems.

"These new regulations will aid in controlling the introduction and spread of nonindigenous species from ships' ballast water," said Mr. Lantz. "This final rule establishes a ballast water discharge standard that is protective of the marine environment and is also consistent with the discharge standard adopted by the International Maritime Organization in 2004."

The numerical limits set by the discharge standard in the final rule are supported by reports from the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board in 2011 as the most stringent that vessels can practicably implement and that the Coast Guard can enforce at this time.

The final rule is effective 90 days after publication in the Federal Register

March 19, 2012