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State
Washington
Chapter 77.120 RCW Ballast water management


Chapter 77.120 RCW
Ballast water management




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77.120.005
Findings.
The legislature finds that some nonindigenous species have the potential to cause economic and environmental damage to the state and that current efforts to stop the introduction of nonindigenous species from shipping vessels do not adequately reduce the risk of new introductions into Washington waters.

The legislature recognizes the international ramifications and the rapidly changing dimensions of this issue, the lack of currently available treatment technologies, and the difficulty that any one state has in either legally or practically managing this issue. Recognizing the possible limits of state jurisdiction over international issues, the state declares its support for the international maritime organization and United States coast guard efforts, and the state intends to complement, to the extent its powers allow it, the United States coast guard's ballast water management program.


[2004 c 227 1; 2000 c 108 1.]




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77.120.010
Definitions.
The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

(1) "Ballast tank" means any tank or hold on a vessel used for carrying ballast water, whether or not the tank or hold was designed for that purpose.

(2) "Ballast water" means any water and matter taken on board a vessel to control or maintain trim, draft, stability, or stresses of the vessel, without regard to the manner in which it is carried.

(3) "Empty/refill exchange" means to pump out, until the tank is empty or as close to empty as the master or operator determines is safe, the ballast water taken on in ports, estuarine, or territorial waters, and then refilling the tank with open sea waters.

(4) "Exchange" means to replace the water in a ballast tank using either flow through exchange, empty/refill exchange, or other exchange methodology recommended or required by the United States coast guard.

(5) "Flow through exchange" means to flush out ballast water by pumping in midocean water at the bottom of the tank and continuously overflowing the tank from the top until three full volumes of water have been changed to minimize the number of original organisms remaining in the tank.

(6) "Nonindigenous species" means any species or other viable biological material that enters an ecosystem beyond its natural range.

(7) "Open sea exchange" means an exchange that occurs fifty or more nautical miles offshore. If the United States coast guard requires a vessel to conduct an exchange further offshore, then that distance is the required distance for purposes of compliance with this chapter.

(8) "Recognized marine trade association" means those trade associations in Washington state that promote improved ballast water management practices by educating their members on the provisions of this chapter, participating in regional ballast water coordination through the Pacific ballast water group, assisting the department in the collection of ballast water exchange forms, and the monitoring of ballast water. This includes members of the Puget Sound marine committee for Puget Sound and the Columbia river steamship operators association for the Columbia river.

(9) "Sediments" means any matter settled out of ballast water within a vessel.

(10) "Untreated ballast water" includes exchanged or unexchanged ballast water that has not undergone treatment.

(11) "Vessel" means a self-propelled ship in commerce of three hundred gross tons or more.

(12) "Voyage" means any transit by a vessel destined for any Washington port.

(13) "Waters of the state" means any surface waters, including internal waters contiguous to state shorelines within the boundaries of the state.


[2000 c 108 2.]




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77.120.020
Application of chapter.
(1) This chapter applies to all vessels carrying ballast water into the waters of the state from a voyage, except:

(a) A vessel of the United States department of defense or United States coast guard subject to the requirements of section 1103 of the national invasive species act of 1996, or any vessel of the armed forces, as defined in 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1322(a)(14), that is subject to the uniform national discharge standards for vessels of the armed forces under 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1322(n);

(b) A vessel (i) that discharges ballast water or sediments only at the location where the ballast water or sediments originated, if the ballast water or sediments do not mix with ballast water or sediments from areas other than open sea waters; or (ii) that does not discharge ballast water in Washington waters;

(c) A vessel traversing the internal waters of Washington in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, bound for a port in Canada, and not entering or departing a United States port, or a vessel in innocent passage, which is a vessel merely traversing the territorial sea of the United States and not entering or departing a United States port, or not navigating the internal waters of the United States; and

(d) A crude oil tanker that does not exchange or discharge ballast water into the waters of the state.

(2) This chapter does not authorize the discharge of oil or noxious liquid substances in a manner prohibited by state, federal, or international laws or regulations. Ballast water containing oil, noxious liquid substances, or any other pollutant shall be discharged in accordance with the applicable requirements.

(3) The master or operator in charge of a vessel is responsible for the safety of the vessel, its crew, and its passengers. Nothing in this chapter relieves the master or operator in charge of a vessel of the responsibility for ensuring the safety and stability of the vessel or the safety of the crew and passengers.


[2000 c 108 3.]




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77.120.030
Authorized ballast water discharge Report.
The owner or operator in charge of any vessel covered by this chapter is required to ensure that the vessel under their ownership or control does not discharge ballast water into the waters of the state except as authorized by this section.

(1) Discharge into waters of the state is authorized if the vessel has conducted an open sea exchange of ballast water. A vessel is exempt from this requirement if the vessel's master reasonably determines that such a ballast water exchange operation will threaten the safety of the vessel or the vessel's crew, or is not feasible due to vessel design limitations or equipment failure. If a vessel relies on this exemption, then it may discharge ballast water into waters of the state, subject to any requirements of treatment under subsection (2) of this section and subject to RCW 77.120.040.

(2) After July 1, 2007, discharge of ballast water into waters of the state is authorized only if there has been an open sea exchange or if the vessel has treated its ballast water to meet standards set by the department consistent with applicable state and federal laws. When weather or extraordinary circumstances make access to treatment unsafe to the vessel or crew, the master of a vessel may delay compliance with any treatment required under this subsection until it is safe to complete the treatment.

(3) Masters, owners, operators, or persons-in-charge shall submit to the department an interim ballast water management report by July 1, 2006, in the form and manner prescribed by the department. The report shall describe actions needed to implement the ballast water requirements in subsection (2) of this section, including treatment methods applicable to the class of the vessel. Reports may include a statement that there are no treatment methods applicable to the vessel for which the report is being submitted.

(4) The ballast water work group created in section 1, chapter 282, Laws of 2002 shall develop recommendations for the interim ballast water management report. The recommendations must include, but are not limited to:

(a) Actions that the vessel owner or operator will take to implement the ballast water requirements in subsection (2) of this section, including treatment methods applicable to the class of the vessel;

(b) Necessary plan elements when there are not treatment methods applicable to the vessel for which the report is being submitted, or which would meet the requirements of this chapter; and

(c) The method, form, and content of reporting to be used for such reports.

(5) For treatment technologies requiring shipyard modification that cannot reasonably be performed prior to July 1, 2007, the department shall provide the vessel owner or operator with an extension to the first scheduled drydock or shipyard period following July 1, 2007.

(6) The department shall make every effort to align ballast water standards with adopted international and federal standards while ensuring that the goals of this chapter are met.

(7) The requirements of this section do not apply to a vessel discharging ballast water or sediments that originated solely within the waters of Washington state, the Columbia river system, or the internal waters of British Columbia south of latitude fifty degrees north, including the waters of the Straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca.

(8) Open sea exchange is an exchange that occurs fifty or more nautical miles offshore. If the United States coast guard requires a vessel to conduct an exchange further offshore, then that distance is the required distance for purposes of compliance with this chapter.


[2004 c 227 3; 2002 c 282 2; 2000 c 108 4.]




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77.120.040
Reporting and sampling requirements.
The owner or operator in charge of any vessel covered by this chapter is required to ensure that the vessel under their ownership or control complies with the reporting and sampling requirements of this section.

(1) Vessels covered by this chapter must report ballast water management information to the department using ballast water management forms that are acceptable to the United States coast guard. The frequency, manner, and form of such reporting shall be established by the department by rule. Any vessel may rely on a recognized marine trade association to collect and forward this information to the department.

(2) In order to monitor the effectiveness of national and international efforts to prevent the introduction of nonindigenous species, all vessels covered by this chapter must submit nonindigenous species ballast water monitoring data. The monitoring, sampling, testing protocols, and methods of identifying nonindigenous species in ballast water shall be determined by the department by rule. A vessel covered by this chapter may contract with a recognized marine trade association to randomly sample vessels within that association's membership, and provide data to the department.

(3) Vessels that do not belong to a recognized marine trade association must submit individual ballast tank sample data to the department for each voyage.

(4) All data submitted to the department under subsection (2) of this section shall be consistent with sampling and testing protocols as adopted by the department by rule.

(5) The department shall adopt rules to implement this section. The rules and recommendations shall be developed in consultation with advisors from regulated industries and the potentially affected parties, including but not limited to shipping interests, ports, shellfish growers, fisheries, environmental interests, interested citizens who have knowledge of the issues, and appropriate governmental representatives including the United States coast guard. In recognition of the need to have a coordinated response to ballast water management for the Columbia river system, the department must consider rules adopted by the state of Oregon when adopting rules under this section for ballast water management in the navigable waters of the Columbia river system.

(a) The department shall set standards for the discharge of treated ballast water into the waters of the state. The rules are intended to ensure that the discharge of treated ballast water poses minimal risk of introducing nonindigenous species. In developing this standard, the department shall consider the extent to which the requirement is technologically and practically feasible. Where practical and appropriate, the standards shall be compatible with standards set by the United States coast guard and shall be developed in consultation with federal and state agencies to ensure consistency with the federal clean water act, 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251-1387.

(b) The department shall adopt ballast water sampling and testing protocols for monitoring the biological components of ballast water that may be discharged into the waters of the state under this chapter. Monitoring data is intended to assist the department in evaluating the risk of new, nonindigenous species introductions from the discharge of ballast water, and to evaluate the accuracy of ballast water exchange practices. The sampling and testing protocols must consist of cost-effective, scientifically verifiable methods that, to the extent practical and without compromising the purposes of this chapter, utilize easily measured indices, such as salinity, or check for species that indicate the potential presence of nonindigenous species or pathogenic species. The department shall specify appropriate quality assurance and quality control for the sampling and testing protocols.


[2002 c 282 3; 2000 c 108 5.]




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77.120.050
Pilot project Private sector ballast water treatment operation.
The shipping vessel industry, the public ports, and the department shall promote the creation of a pilot project to establish a private sector ballast water treatment operation that is capable of servicing vessels at all Washington ports. Federal and state agencies and private industries shall be invited to participate. The project will develop equipment or methods to treat ballast water and establish operational methods that do not increase the cost of ballast water treatment at smaller ports. The legislature intends that the cost of treatment required by this chapter is substantially equivalent among large and small ports in Washington.


[2000 c 108 6.]




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77.120.060
Report to legislature Results of chapter.
The legislature recognizes that international and national laws relating to this chapter are changing and that state law must adapt accordingly. The department shall submit to the legislature, and make available to the public, a report that summarizes the results of this chapter and makes recommendations for improvement to this chapter on or before December 1, 2001, and a second report on or before December 1, 2004. The 2004 report shall describe how the costs of treatment required as of July 1, 2004, will be substantially equivalent among ports where treatment is required. The 2004 report must describe how the states of Washington and Oregon are coordinating their efforts for ballast water management in the Columbia river system. The department shall strive to fund the provisions of this chapter through existing resources, cooperative agreements with the maritime industry, and federal funding sources.


[2002 c 282 4; 2000 c 108 7.]




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77.120.070
Violation of chapter Penalties.
(1) Except as limited by subsection (2) or (3) of this section, the director or the director's designee may impose a civil penalty or warning for a violation of the requirements of this chapter on the owner or operator in charge of a vessel who fails to comply with the requirements imposed under RCW 77.120.030 and 77.120.040. The penalty shall not exceed five thousand dollars for each violation. In determining the amount of a civil penalty, the department shall consider if the violation was intentional, negligent, or without any fault, and shall consider the quality and nature of risks created by the violation. The owner or operator subject to such a penalty may contest the determination by requesting an adjudicative proceeding within twenty days. Any determination not timely contested is final and may be reduced to a judgment enforceable in any court with jurisdiction. If the department prevails using any judicial process to collect a penalty under this section, the department shall also be awarded its costs and reasonable attorneys' fees.

(2) The civil penalty for a violation of reporting requirements of RCW 77.120.040 shall not exceed five hundred dollars per violation.

(3) Any owner or operator who knowingly, and with intent to deceive, falsifies a ballast water management report form is liable for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars per violation, in addition to any criminal liability that may attach to the filing of false documents.

(4) The department, in cooperation with the United States coast guard, may enforce the requirements of this chapter.


[2000 c 108 8.]




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77.120.080
Legislative review of chapter Recommendations.
By December 31, 2005, the natural resources committees of the legislature must review this chapter and its implementation and make recommendations if needed to the 2006 regular session of the legislature.


[2000 c 108 9.]




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77.120.090
Ballast water information system Improvements.
The department, working with the United States coast guard and the marine exchanges, will work cooperatively to improve the ballast water information system and make improvements no later than October 1, 2002. The cooperative effort will strive to obtain ballast water reports for the United States coast guard under contract. The reports may be used for ballast water management information under this chapter and be forwarded to the United States coast guard for its management purposes. Prior to July 1, 2002, the department must take steps to reduce or eliminate the costs of reporting.


[2002 c 282 5.]




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77.120.900
Severability 2000 c 108.
If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.


[2000 c 108 11.]