Department of Ecology News Release - July 16, 2014
OLYMPIA – Older and sometimes abandoned marine vessels can pose significant risks to Washington waters and to public health and safety.
The vessels can be at risk of sinking and can contain oil, fuel and hazardous materials that are toxic to our waters.
Removing and disposing of them safely and properly is a priority for reducing environmental harm. But relatively few facilities are permitted to perform this work.
The Washington Department of Ecology is developing a new water quality permit in response to the growing problem, and is asking for public comments on the approach.
Currently, there is no water quality permit for taking vessels apart over water. This new permit would fill that void, but it would not replace permits for existing facilities.
The proposed Vessel Deconstruction General NPDES (water quality) permit would define the appropriate requirements to prevent the discharge of pollutants during deconstruction.
The new permit would cover individual vessels, allowing permittees to dismantle the vessel while afloat. That will create cost savings and additional options when deconstruction at a shipyard isn’t feasible. Final deconstruction would need to be done at facilities permitted to perform this work.
Ecology enlisted an advisory committee of industry experts in developing the permit.
Ecology is collecting public comments on the draft permit until Aug. 22. It will hold a public hearing and workshop at 1 p.m. on Aug. 19 at South Seattle Community College Georgetown, room C122, 6737 Corson Ave. S., Seattle.
Comments can be emailed to Vincent McGowan, or mailed to McGowan at Washington Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600. All comments must be received by midnight Aug. 22.
Ecology expects to finalize the permit in October.
Sandy Howard, Ecology communications, 360-407-6408, @ecologyWA
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