Vessel Deconstruction General Permit

The Vessel Deconstruction General Permit (VDGP) is a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that regulates the deconstruction of vessels. Through this permit, we implement the federal Clean Water Act and State Water Pollution Control Act.

Do I need a permit?

You are required to obtain coverage under the vessel deconstruction permit for any deconstruction activities involving dismantling any portion of a vessel hull, topside, or superstructure while the vessel is over water, on a dry-dock, or on a barge. The Vessel Deconstruction focus sheet explains the different types of permit coverage related to vessel deconstruction and when you would need to obtain coverage under the Vessel Deconstruction General Permit.

Deconstruction activities conducted within a facility already covered by an individual or other applicable general NPDES permit for this work do not require coverage under the Vessel Deconstruction General Permit. You are not required to obtain coverage under this permit for activities related to vessel retrieval.

This permit went into effect on Dec. 1, 2014, and expires Nov. 30, 2019.

Purpose of the permit

Older vessels near the end of their lifecycle pose significant risks to public health, safety, and the environment. Because the decommission and disposal of these vessels is a high priority, we have developed and issued this general permit to create additional options for deconstruction of vessels.

This permit does not replace individual permits or general permits issued to shipyards and boatyards under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System that also permits vessel deconstruction activities.

How do I become permitted?

If your operations require permit coverage under the Vessel Deconstruction General Permit, you must:

  • Submit a permit application for coverage at least 60 days before discharging water from deconstruction activities.
  • Meet all associated public notice requirements.

What pollution does the permit control?

The  Vessel Deconstruction General Permit primarily sets conditions for the discharge of stormwater associated with vessel deconstruction activities.

Common stormwater contaminants from vessel deconstruction can include:

  • Oil and grease
  • pH
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Suspended Solids

Additionally, the permit contains conditions for the discharge of dry-dock floodwater and non-stormwater discharges.

The  Vessel Deconstruction General Permit prohibits discharge of the following materials during vessel deconstruction activities:

  • Pressure wash wastewater
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Oily wastes
  • Gray water
  • Ship sanitary waste
  • Solvents
  • Industrial stormwater or process water from piers and docks
  • Other dangerous wastes

Vessel deconstruction general permit


Notice of Intent for coverage (application)

For guidance about applying, changing, implementing, and complying with your stormwater permit, see stormwater guidance. We also help with discharge monitoring reports (DMRs).

Changes in coverage

Reissuance - 2019

The current permit expires on November 30, 2019. We plan to release a proposed draft of the general permit for comment in September 2019.

What's changing:

Proposed changes to the permit include:

  • Revising the application process
  • Adding the ability to maintain permit coverage and be inactive


Early Fall 2019: Formal public comment period on the draft permit

November 2019: Decision on permit issuance