VGP/VIDA Testing

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VGP/VIDA Testing

Vessels sailing on the United States of America have to comply with the regulations for the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP). This will be replaced by the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) in the near future. MEA-nl can conduct analyses on your ballast water, grey water, bilge water and scrubber wash water.

These vessels sailing to the United States of America and discharging effluents in US waters should have “Discharge authorization” and (electronically) report results of sampling and analyses on the waste streams to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Waste streams include: 

  • ballast water;
  • grey water;
  • bilge water; and
  • washwater from scrubbers. 

All effluents have to be sampled multiple times per year, depending on the age of the vessel and type of cleaning system involved. Details are laid down in the EPA 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP). More information can be found in a brochure from the EPA and on the FAQ page of EPA:. 

Commercial Vessel Discharge Standards: Frequently Asked Questions | US EPA 

The 2018 Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA (Vessel Incidental Discharge Act) intends to streamline the patchwork of federal, state, and local requirements for vessels. Ad interim the 2013 VGP is incorporated in VIDA but will be replaced most likely fall 2023 with implementation in 2024. 

VGP 2013 sampling and analyses

VGP requires a mix of sampling for different systems installed on board. The table below gives an overview.


Effluent Ships Type of system Frequency


The VIDA (Vessel Incidental Discharge Act)  requires EPA to develop national standards of performance for incidental discharges (similar to the discharges in the EPA 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP)) by December 2020. Two years after EPA publication of the final Vessel Incidental Discharge National Standards of Performance, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is required to develop corresponding implementation, compliance, and enforcement regulations for those standards, including any requirements governing the design, construction, testing, approval, installation, and use of devices necessary to achieve the EPA standards.

The VIDA applies to:

  • Commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length;
  • Other non-recreational, non-Armed Forces vessels, such as research and emergency rescue vessels; and
  • Ballast water only from small vessels (vessels less than 79 feet in length) and fishing vessels of all sizes.

VGP and VIDA will require a ship operator or master to self asses and report to the USCG. Key points of responsibility involved are performing the installation, calibration and periodic check. The periodic check on F.E. a ballast water treatment system where samples need to be taken from the system, always needs to be done by a third party to ensure compliance with the minimum criteria, which can be found in the VGP act. The annual report date of the VGP is still set to February the 28th.

Our specialized team conducts your VIDA/VPG test

Samples can be taken by the crew, but have to be analysed in specialized laboratoria. Further, in most cases also field tests have to be conducted.

Ask us for more information on what tests we are able to conduct on your vessel

MEA-nl is a Dutch company specialized in multiple marine water tests besides the VIDA or VGP test. Our team is experienced and provides you with the latest information on guidelines and legislations having to be met on your vessel. Although the expectation is that the VIDA test will be very similar to the present VGP test, it is not sure yet what is going to change concerning sampling, analyses and intervals. Once we know what the change will bring about, we will inform you on the changes. Get in contact with us by calling us on +31 (0)227 – 60 82 93 or by sending an e-mail to We will provide you with the latest information and possibilities.

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