The Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn. (WWEMA) sent a letter to the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee urging immediate passage and implementation of H.R. 2840, the “Commercial Vessel Discharges Reform Act of 2011," which was scheduled to go to Committee markup yesterday.
The bill would for the first time establish a national standard based on a current International Maritime Organization (IMO) standard requiring all ships to treat their ballast water to reduce the proliferation of invasive species entering U.S. waters.
“The need to reduce the unwanted transfer of invasive species into U.S. waters is critical,” WWEMA stated, noting that “48 million gal of untreated ballast water are discharged into U.S. waters on a daily basis, resulting in immeasurable economic and environmental damage to our industries and coastal communities.”
The bill would replace the patchwork quilt of state standards that have been emerging in the absence of a uniform, national standard and would provide certainty to ship owners and manufacturers of ballast water treatment systems as to what must be treated within in reasonable timeframe. Industry professionals have been waiting since 2001 for the Coast Guard to issue such a standard.