153 - 08/00 - New Ballast Legislation in Washington State, USA


The recently enacted Washington State ballast legislation, which will concern any Members calling at ports in Washington State US, became effective on 24 June 2000. Fines may be incurred for breaching these regulations, which may be summarised as follows.

* No vessel may discharge ballast water unless there has been an open sea exchange (meaning more than 50 miles from shore)

* After 1 July 2002, discharge is authorized only if the vessel has treated its ballast water to meet standards set by the Departmentof Fish and Wildlife

* Vessels are exempted if discharging ballast water that originated in Washington State, the Columbia River system, or internal waters of British Columbia south of latitude 50 degrees north, including the Straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca

* Vessels in transit, defence vessels, and those that are unable to exchange ballast for safety reasons are exempted

* Ballast water management information must be given either directly to the Department of Fish and Wildlife for each voyage, or via a recognized marine trade association (a copy of the USCG's form will suffice)

* The Department will adopt ballast water sampling and testing measures for monitoring the biological components of ballast water

* Any person who falsifies ballast water control reports can receive a civil penalty of up to $5,000. This is in addition to any criminal liability.

* There are no fees for vessel owners and operators. However, vessels which do not belong to a recognized marine trade association that randomly samples its members' vessels for the Bill's ballast water data monitoring requirements must submit individual ballast tank sample data to the Department of Fish and Wildlife for each voyage.

Source of information:

David Grammas, Thos Miller (Americas) Inc.


Staff Author