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Marinas & Small Boat Harbors: Regulations
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Great Lakes Oil Spill Prevention Project
Determine if a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan is required for a marina. I...

There are a number of federal, state, and local regulations that may apply to marinas. Listed below are some of the major federal programs. Check with your state and local regulatory agency to determine if there are additional regulations that apply in your area.

Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act (1987): This Act states that, within US lakes, rivers, bays, sounds, and anywhere within 3 nautical miles from the ocean shore, it is illegal to dump anything other than fish guts. Between 3-12 nautical miles, it is illegal to dump plastic and any other garbage greater than 1 inch in scale. Between 12-15 nautical miles, it is illegal to dump plastic and articles such as linings, packing materials, nets, lines, etc. And beyond 25 nautical miles from shore, it is simply illegal to dump plastic.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and State Hazardous Waste Laws (1976): This law is aimed at improving collection, transportation, separation, recovery, and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes. Although it varies from state to state, generally hazardous waste generators are defined as those individuals or companies that produce more than 100 kg of hazardous waste in one calendar month or who store more than 100 kg at any one time. These generators must (among other things) register with the EPA, have hazardous waste labeled in appropriate containers, and have a written contingency plan.

Coastal Zone Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) (1990): Section 6217 of CZARA requires that 29 states and territories with approved Coastal Zone Management Programs develop Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Programs. The state or territory must describe how it will implement the Nonpoint Source Pollution controls ('management measures'). These 'management measures' are defined as 'economically achievable measures to control the addition of pollutants to our coastal waters, which reflect the greatest degree of pollutant reduction achievable through the application of the best available nonpoint pollution control practices, technologies, processes, siting criteria, operation methods, or other alternatives.'

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Program: NPDES is a 2 phase permit program enacted by Congress in 1987 under Section 402(p) of the Clean Water Act. Phase I: NPDES permits are required to be issued for municipal storm sewers serving medium to large-sized populations (greater than 100,000 and 250,000 people, respectively) and for storm water discharges associated with industrial activities such as marinas. Permits can also be issued on a case-by-case basis. Phase II examines which marinas are regulated under the Storm Water Program. If a marina is primarily in the business of renting boat slips, storing boats, cleaning boats, repairing boats, and generally performs a range of other marine services, then it is classified under the Storm Water Program as an SIC 4493 (Marina Industry Code). This means that they can be regulated under the Storm Water Program and may be required to obtain a storm water discharge permit. In a number of states, NPDES programs have been delegated to the states and the states are the permitting authority. Marinas with an SIC 4493 classification are required to obtain a NPDES storm water permit if vehicle maintenance activities such as boat rehabilitation, mechanical repairs, and painting, fueling, lubrication, or equipment cleaning operations are conducted at the marina. This permit will apply only to point source discharges of storm water from the maintenance area of the marinas. However, marinas that are classified under SIC 4493 but are NOT involved with equipment cleaning or maintenance activities OR marinas that have no point source discharges of storm water are not covered under the Storm Water Program.

Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans:Under Section 311(j)(1)(C) of the Clean Water Act, marinas may be required to develop a Spill Prevention, Control nad Countermeasures Plan. A marina is required to have an SPCC plan if they store more than 660 gallons of petroleum in a single aboveground container, store more than 1320 gallons of petroleum in multiple aboveground containers, or store more than 42,000 gallons of petroleum in a underground tank(s). Under the regulation, petroleum is defined as diesel, fuel, gasoline, lube oil, waste oil heating oil or motor oil. The purpose of the SPCC plan requirement is to prevent discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines of the United States.

Clean Vessel Act (CVA): The Clean Vessel Act was passed in 1992 in order to reduce overboard sewage discharge from boats by providing pumpout and dump stations for boaters to dispose of human sewage in an environmentally responsible manner. CVA provides funds to states for the construction, renovation, operation, and maintenance of pumpout and dump stations for pumping out waste from recreational boat holding tanks and emptying portable toilets. In many cases states subgrant to public and private marinas to perform these activities and upgrades. In 1998, Congress appropriated $50 million in order to continue the pumpout grant system through 2003 and expand it to more areas throughout the US to make pumpouts more accessible to the public.

Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know (EPCRA): Marinas with the capacity to store greater than 1,250 gallons of gasoline or diesel must submit a n annual "Tier Two Report" to state and local emergency planning organizations. This filing requirement is an element of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). This information is used by state emergency response commissions and local emergency planning committees in planning for and responding to hazardous and toxic chemical emergencies.


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Hub Last Updated: 1/29/2010