EPA addresses discharges at American Boating Congress

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The Environmental Protection Agency expects to publish by next winter a proposed rule for best management practices for non-sewage discharges from recreational boats.

That's according to Brian Rappoli, of the EPA marine pollution control branch, who spoke Wednesday at the American Boating Congress in Washington, D.C.

These practices, mandated by the Clean Boating Act of 2008, will cover discharges like gray water, trash, oil, deck runoff, boat washing, bilge water - "any discharge other than sewage," Rappoli said.

It also will cover best management practices to help control the spread of "aquatic nuisance species" like zebra mussels.

Rappoli said the EPA is drawing on green practices already adopted by states, private organizations and Clean Marina programs for the federal best management practices.

"We want them to be simple, easily implemented practices," he said, and not a financial burden.

The proposed rule will undergo a final agency review this summer, then a review by the Office of Management and Budget in the fall, followed by publication this winter in the Federal Register. If that part of the rule passes muster, EPA will proceed with its next two phases: performance measures and Coast Guard rules for implementing the practices.

Rappoli said it could be five years before the best management practices become effective. The Coast Guard and states will enforce them and violators will face penalties, as yet unspecified.

— Jim Flannery