alerts & publications
Maritime Sewage Ban Considered for California CoastSeptember 20, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has proposed a new regulation that would ban all sewage discharges to the marine waters along California’s coastline from large cruise ships and most other large ocean-going ships. The proposed regulation is aimed at protecting economic and ecological interests associated with California and would establish the largest coastal “no discharge zone” in the United States.
The U.S. Clean Water Act authorizes the EPA to establish vessel sewage no-discharge zones if necessary to protect and restore water quality. The State of California first asked the EPA to establish such a zone in 2006.
Specifically, the discharge ban will prohibit sewage discharges from all 300+ ton vessels that operate in California waters, including all cruise ships and cargo ships that have sufficient sewage holding-tank capacity (defined in the rule as two days’ storage capacity). The new ban will apply to all coastal waters out to three miles from the coastline and all bays and estuaries subject to tidal influence. There are nine small no-discharge zones currently designated in California, which include several National Marine Sanctuaries.
Other vessel sewage discharges will continue to be regulated under existing Clean Water Act requirements, which generally require sewage to be treated by approved marine sanitation devices prior to discharge.
The EPA is accepting public comments on the proposed regulation until November 1, 2010.
For other articles on maritime regulation and legislation click the following links, "International Maritime Organization Approves Emission Limits for Ships Operating in North American Coastal Waters" (April 7, 2010); "Highlights from IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee Meetings July 2009" (August 31, 2009).
Thank you for your interest. Before you communicate with one of our attorneys, please note: Any comments our attorneys share with you are general information and not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will exist between you or your business and O’Melveny or any of its attorneys unless conflicts have been cleared, our management has given its approval, and an engagement letter has been signed. Meanwhile, you agree: we have no duty to advise you or provide you with legal assistance; you will not divulge any confidences or send any confidential or sensitive information to our attorneys (we are not in a position to keep it confidential and might be required to convey it to our clients); and, you may not use this contact to attempt to disqualify O’Melveny from representing other clients adverse to you or your business. By clicking "accept" you acknowledge receipt and agree to all of the terms of this paragraph and our Disclaimer.