Treatment Technology Approval Process
For vessels entering the waters of the
USCG Approval of Treatment Technologies for Vessels Entering
The performance of treatment technologies in treating ballast water intended for discharge in U.S. waters must first be evaluated and approved by the USCG before said technologies may be used in lieu of ballast water exchange or prior to ballast water discharge. The USCG uses two programs to evaluate treatment technologies: (1) the USCG's Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program (STEP) and (2) the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) program.
(1) Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program (STEP)
In an effort to encourage the development of treatment systems and shipboard testing, the U.S. Coast Guard implemented STEP. STEP promotes the development of effective ballast water treatment technologies by incorporating the approved vessel into an experimental system and offering incentives to vessels for engaging in the development and use of experimental treatment technologies. A vessel accepted into STEP prior to the promulgation of USCG ballast water discharge standards will be considered to have an equivalent ballast water management practice in compliance with Federal regulations for the life of the treatment equipment or the life of the vessel, whichever is shorter. Vessels accepted to STEP after the establishment of discharge standards will be granted equivalency status to the ballast water discharge standards for ten years.
On April 4, 2008, the Coast Guard released draft environmental assessments (DEAs) for three applicants seeking to participate in the Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program (STEP): Princess Cruise Lines' Coral Princess, Atlantic Container Lines' Atlantic Compass and Matson Shipping's Moku Pahu. View the DEAs:
Draft Environmental Assessment Review of the Application by Atlantic Container Lines for Acceptance of the Vessel M/V Atlantic Compass and the Ecochlor Inc. Technology into the USCG Shipboard Technology Evaluation (STEP) Program
Environmental Assessment Review of an Application from the Cruise Ship Coral Princess and Hyde Marine Technology for inclusion in the Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program
Environmental Assessment Review of the Application for Acceptance of the Matson Navigation M/V Moku Pahu and Ecochlor Inc. Technology into the Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program (STEP)
View the Federal Register notice here. More information on STEP is available in the STEP General Guidance document, or on the USCG website.
(2) Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV)
The EPA's ETV program is not specific to ballast water treatment; therefore it is being used in a partnership with the USCG as a tool — not an approval process — to create and evaluate standardized testing procedures for use in determining if ballast water treatment systems are working effectively. More information on the ETV program is available on the EPA website or at the Key West Naval Research Laboratory, which operates a prototype ETV Ballast Water Treatment System Test Facility, as specified by the Draft ETV Protocol for the Verification of Ballast Water Treatment Technologies.
There are two ETV centers working with ballast water:
ETV Water Quality Protection Center
ETV Advanced Monitoring Systems Center
For a recent update, see the update on ETV that EPA gave to Congress: Environmental Technology Verification Program Briefing,on 5/1/07.
Approval of Treatment Technologies for Vessels Engaged in Coastal Traffic
For more information about approval of treatment technologies by individual states please refer to the Laws and Regulations section of this website and contact the appropriate individual/agency within each state. Currently, the only states to have approved treatment technologies is Michigan and Washington. Michigan has approved four technologies for ships wishing to obtain permits to discharge water in the state: hypochlorite treatment, chlorine dioxide, ultraviolet light radiation and deoxygenation - see the MDEQ website for more information.