Tackling the Oily Water Separator Issue

One of the challenges motor vessels bring into coastal waters is the discharge of oily wastewater. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) seeks to prevent discharge of oil into the U.S. waters. In theory, all of a vessel's discharges of wastewater should not have a concentration of oil greater than 15 parts per million (ppm). However, the vessels' oily water separator (OWS) systems do not always work as designed and/or are not properly maintained. The Coast Guard is charged with enforcing the U.S. laws and is empowered to board ships and conduct regular inspections and investigations of potential violation, including violations of MARPOL (the international Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships). If the Coast Guard identifies an illegal discharge and an ultimately potential source of pollution, a criminal prosecution may follow. Prosecution of OWS cases is a key piece of the overall enforcement puzzle that helps realize the goals of MARPOL.


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  • Accession Number: 01001490
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 29 2005 10:39AM