USCG — Practicability Review of the Ballast Water Discharge Standard

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

14 May 2016


The USCG recently published its Practicability Review of the Ballast Water Discharge Standard (BWDS) on their website. The Review determined that, at this time, technology to achieve a significant improvement in ballast water treatment efficacy onboard vessels (the Phase-one Standard) cannot be practicably implemented. The USCG indicated that they are not aware of any credible sources of data related to the evaluation of BWM Systems which apply equivalent standards of quality assurance and quality control as that required by the Coast Guard’s current regulations. In the conclusion of the review, the USCG indicated that when credible data are available (i.e., from Independent Laboratory type approval testing and confirmation of reliable onboard operation of BWM Systems), the Coast Guard will re-evaluate the feasibility of implementing a BWDS more stringent than the Phase-one Standard. On 23 Mar 2012, the USCG published the Standards for Living Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters; Final Rule (33 CFR Subparts C and D) which became effective 21 Jun 2012. The Final Rule deferred the implementation of the Phase-two Standard proposed in the 28 August 2009 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This allowed the USCG to move forward with the Phase-one Standard (numerically equivalent to the IMO Ballast Water Management BWM Convention Regulation D-2) while continuing to assess the practicability of implementing the Phase-two Standard. The Final Rule anticipated that credible data from USCG type approval testing of BWM Systems would be available by January 2016, therefore required a practicability review by 1 January 2016.