US heading for changes to ballast water management bill

US heading for changes to ballast water management bill

Overview

The US Senate has approved changes to the VIDA Bill (formerly known as Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, CVIDA), creating a new approach for regulating ballast water discharges from vessels while recognizing special regional situations.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation reached an agreement on the revisions this week, passing the bill as part of the US Coast Guard (USCG) Reauthorization Act.

The proposed CVIDA legislation attempted to unify and simplify both the regulatory and compliance aspects of vessel discharges by creating one federal standard for both the USCG and the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA), as well as preempting any similar state regulations.

The bill includes legislative language that amends the USCG regulations to allow for the use of test methods i.e. based on the Most Probable Number for approval of ballast water management systems. Basically, organisms that cannot reproduce or are as good as dead for the purposes of compliance with the regulation. This method of approval is advantageous for UV based Ballast Water Management Systems.

The next step is for the Bill to be approved by the US House of Representatives and then ultimately signed into US Law by the President of the United States. It is expected that these steps will occur over the coming weeks. 

Mette Kronholm Frænde
in Copenhagen, DK

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