EPA pushes new pollution standards for military ships

Military ships could face new pollution standards while operating in waters controlled by the United States, under a proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Coast Guard and Navy would be the primary military branches affected by the pollution standards, according to a spokeswoman for the EPA. The rules would only apply to pollution from military ships while operating in U.S. coastal and inland waters, as well as territorial seas.

The EPA will propose the joint rule in conjunction with the Department of Defense in Monday's Federal Register. The pollution standards come out of the Clean Water Act that was passed in 1972.

"The proposed standards would reduce the adverse environmental impacts associated with the discharges, stimulate the development of improved pollution control devices, and advance the development of environmentally sound ships by the Armed Forces," the agencies wrote.

The new rules would apply to about 6,000 military boats and ships, according to the EPA spokeswoman. 

They would set discharge limits for 11 types of water pollutants that are common from military ships, she said, including aqueous film forming foam, chain locker effluent, distillation and reverse osmosis brine, elevator pit effluent, gas turbine water wash, non-oily machinery wastewater, photographic laboratory drains, seawater cooling overboard discharge, seawater piping biofouling prevention, small boat engine wet exhaust and welldeck discharges. 

The government has identified 14 other common discharges that will be addressed in future rules. The public will have two months to comment on the proposed rule.