BWWG delivers final recommendations to 2007 legislature
The Washington Ballast Water Work Groups released a final report that details their conclusions and recommendations, provides a general risk assessment, an overview of international, national and state ballast water regulatory programs, outlines federal and international treatment standards, estimates the costs for the state ballast water program and discusses the status of ballast water exchange and treatment technologies. View the full report: Ballast Water Management in Washington State: A Report of the State Ballast Water Work Group to the 2007 Regular Session of the Washington State Legislature
Existing Legislation (from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Ballast Program)
House Bill 2466 - The Ballast Water Management Act (2002)
View the full text of HB 2466; or view the analysis of HB 2466
Ballast Exchange Requirements
Washington State requires that all vessels originating from ports outside of the U.S. EEZ (even those not intending to discharge ballast water) within state waters conduct open ocean ballast water exchange at least 200 nautical miles (nm) offshore. Vessels involved in U.S. coastal traffic, including Canadian waters, are required to exchange their ballast water at least 50 nm offshore.
Ballast Exchange Exemptions
Vessels may be exempted from exchanging when:
1) When it is not safe to perform open ocean exchange, or when design limitations of the vessel or equipment malfunctions prevent exchange. In such cases the master must declare a safety exemption on the ballast water reporting form. However, vessels will undergo review to determine if exemption is warranted and if compliance plans or alternative strategies are necessary, with a safety exemption fee up to $5,000.
*file0* - Cannot connect to file!2) When ships' ballast water and sediments originate solely from the "common waters" zone (near-coastal blue or grey-shaded areas on map at right; technically, waters of Washington State, the Columbia River system, or the internal water of British Columbia south of latitude 50°N, including the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca). A vessel may discharge ballast water without an open sea exchange or treatment if that water originated solely within the common waters zone.
3) When a vessel uses a ballast water treatment system that has been approved by Washington State and meets ballast water discharge standards.
However, as of July 1, 2007, the discharge of non-exchanged or untreated ballast water into Washington State waters is prohibited. Vessels unable to exchange ballast water will have to retain it onboard or treat it prior to discharge.
All vessels of 300 gross tons and greater, except military vessels, must file a ballast water reporting form 24 hours prior to entering state waters. Both the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) ballast water reporting forms are accepted although the USCG form is preferred.
Reporting forms may be filed directly with WDFW (FAX: 360-902-2845; Email: email@example.com) or with the Marine Exchange of Puget Sound for vessels entering Puget Sound or Washington State coastal ports (to submit forms, FAX: 206-443-8025, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org), while vessels entering Columbia River ports may file with the Merchants Exchange of Portland (to submit forms: FAX: 503-295-3660, Email: email@example.com).
Vessels that have not filed a letter with WDFW stating that they do not regularly discharge ballast and are not intending to discharge ballast water may file a ballast water reporting form and indicate "Not Discharging Ballast Water" in the ballast water history section rather than filling in all tank data.
Vessel operators that fail to comply with the reporting requirements may be subject to a $500 fine. Improper ballast discharges may result in a fine of up to $27,500. Knowingly falsifying a ballast report may result in a criminal penalty. (Penalties may change to be in line with USCG and California.)
Allen Pleus, firstname.lastname@example.org or Pam Meacham, email@example.com; or visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Ballast Program website for more info on WA ballast program.