Document Type


Date of Award

Summer 8-31-2012

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering - (M.S.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Hsin Neng Hsieh

Second Advisor

Taha F. Marhaba

Third Advisor

Michael P. Bonchonsky


On February 5, 2009, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) issued the Vessel General Permit (VGP), under the Clean Water Act (CWA), for discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels, including ballast water discharges. This set forth permit requirements for most commercial vessel discharges within 3 nautical miles of U.S. shore. Since it will expire in December 2013, the US EPA recently issued a draft 2013 VGP. One of the significant changes is the proposal of numerical ballast water discharge standards requiring most commercial vessels to install ballast water treatment systems onboard.

The objective of this thesis is to review, analyze and present the impacts of the VGP ballast water regulations. An overview of the concerns of ballast water discharge, the VGP and other related ballast water regulations, and classes of vessels affected is exhibited. Using the US EPA VGP Notice of Intent (NOI) database, this study presents the challenges of the upcoming 2013 VGP ballast water regulations. The challenges discussed are organized into five aspects: ballast water treatment system (BWTS) manufacturers, vessels requiring BWTSs, impact on foreign and domestic vessels, additional state regulations, and government agencies’ involvement. Finally, conclusions and recommendations are made with regard to such challenges.



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