EPA Seeks Comments on Boats' 'Gray Water' Discharges

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public comments on a draft report that, when made final, will provide Congress with information it may use for the regulation of incidental discharges from certain vessels. The types of vessels in the study included fishing vessels, tugboats, water taxis, tour boats, towing and salvage vessels, small research vessels, a fire boat, and a supply boat. Incidental vessel discharges including deck run-off, gray water. and other types of discharges may have a potential negative impact on water quality.

The draft report summarizes the primary pollutant concentrations in the discharges sampled and evaluates the potential environmental impact of these discharges on large water bodies. For the draft report, EPA sampled wastewater discharges and gathered shipboard process information from 61 vessels. Vessels were sampled in 15 separate cities and towns in nine states across multiple geographic regions.

Public comments on the draft report, "Study of Discharges Incidental to Normal Operation of Commercial Fishing Vessels and Other Non-Recreational Vessels Less than 79 Feet," will be accepted for 30 days following publication in the Federal Register. EPA will then consider the comments and finalize the report for submission to Congress.

Congress requested EPA to do the report in 2008. For more information on the draft report to Congress on vessel discharges, go to http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/vessels/reportcongress.cfm.

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