Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Minnesota Pursues Ballast Water Permit Program

Apr 8: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has scheduled two informational meetings to gather public input on a working draft of a permit to regulate ballast water discharges from commercial ships into Lake Superior. The meetings will be held at the MPCA St. Paul office board room on April 15 from 2 to 4 PM. The second meeting will be held at the MPCA Duluth office on April 16 from 10 AM to noon. MPCA said it is holding discussions as part of a larger, four-month public-input process resulting in a final ballast water permit that would be available by September 30, 2008.

The permit would require commercial ocean-going and Great Lakes-only vessels to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System permit prior to discharging ballast water into State waters. Minnesota and U. S. EPA NPDES/SDS permit rules currently exempt ballast water from permit requirements. The MPCA permit would likely require best management practices and specific performance standards for the discharges. For example, a ballast water performance standard might specify an allowable number of living detectable organisms per cubic meter of water. Currently, Federal law does not regulate ballast water discharges and existing Federal ballast water management requirements and policies have not been effective in preventing biological invasions in the Great Lakes.

Access a release with further details on the meetings (
click here). Access the MPCA Vessel Discharge Program website for extensive information and background on the ballast water permit efforts (click here).