National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)


EPA issued the Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP) on September 10, 2014 for the control of incidental discharges for vessels less than 79 feet in length. However, as the result of legislation, these smaller vessels are not required to obtain coverage under that permit until December 18, 2017, except for any ballast water discharges. That legislation also exempted commercial fishing vessels of all sizes from having to obtain NPDES permit coverage for those incidental discharges, except ballast water, until December 18, 2017.

Final 2014 sVGP

This permit is effective from December 19, 2014 to December 18, 2019 (i.e., five years) and provides NPDES permit coverage for incidental discharges from non-military, non-recreational (commercial) vessels less than 79 feet in length (i.e., "small vessels").

Legislation enacted after issuance of the 2014 sVGP (Senate Bill S.2444 (PDF)(44 pp, 289 KB, About PDF)) specifies that neither EPA nor states may require NPDES permits for incidental discharges, except for ballast water, from vessels less than 79 feet in length or from commercial fishing vessels of any size until December 18, 2017. Until then, this permit is only applicable to discharges of ballast water from vessels less than 79 feet in length.

Discharge Authorization

  • Permit Authorization and Record of Inspection (PARI) Form – Vessel owners/operators must complete this form to obtain coverage under the 2014 sVGP (as described in Part 1 of the permit).
  • Pursuant to Part 1.5(f) of the sVGP, EPA authorizes small vessels to obtain coverage for their ballast water discharges under the sVGP (regardless of whether those discharges were covered under the 2008 VGP). In accordance with Part 1.6.2 of the VGP, if you submitted an NOI to obtain coverage under the VGP for your ballast water discharges, you must submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) within 30 days of when you obtain coverage under the sVGP in order to be released from the requirements of the VGP. This authorization does not apply to discharges from vessels covered by any NPDES permit that has been or is in the process of being denied, terminated, or revoked by EPA or state permitting authorities.

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