Photo of ship discharging ballast water
Ballast Water Reporting Form
MS Word Version | PDF Version
BWRF Waiver Request Form
MS Word Format
RCW 77.120: Ballast Water Management Statute
WAC 220-150 Ballast Water Management Rules
Summay of new ballast water rules
Washington State "Common Waters" definition, map and description
U.S. Coast Guard's new rules/standards for ballast water
U.S. Coast Guard's proposed timeline for rule implementation
EPA Vessel General Permit Information

Reporting Requirements
All vessels (including ATB’s and barges) of 300 gross tons and greater, except military vessels, must file a ballast water reporting form (BWRF) to the department 24 hours prior to entering Washington
State waters and before transiting
between state ports. U.S. Coast Guard and IMO BWRFs will be accepted. The U.S. Coast Guard form is preferred. BWRFs may be directly filed to:

WDFW Ballast Water Program
FAX: 360-902-2845


The State of Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) is charged with implementing the ballast water management laws under Chapter 77.120 RCW. This chapter applies to all vessels of three hundred gross tons or more, United States and foreign, carrying, or capable of carrying, ballast water into the waters of the state after operating outside of the waters of the state. The owner or operator in charge of a vessel is required to file a ballast water reporting form at least 24 hours prior to arrival into waters of the state, and to ensure that the vessel does not discharge ballast water into the waters of the state except as authorized by this law. 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. Vessel operators that fail to file a ballast water reporting form, or that discharge improperly exchanged or treated ballast water from their vessel without a valid exemption, may be subject to penalties of up to $27,500 for each day of a continuing violation.

New Ballast Water Rules
The Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a new set of ballast water rules on June 5, 2009. These rules were then published in the state register on June 25 and are effective as of July 26, 2009. Statutory authority to adopt these rules comes from RCW 77.12.047, 77.120.030, 77.120.040, and 77.120.070. The rules were developed over two years in close consultation with, and recommended in consensus by, the department’s Ballast Water Work Group (BWWG). The BWWG is a stakeholder committee consisting of cargo and passenger shipping representatives, state and federal agencies, the NW Indian Fisheries Commission, environmental groups, academia, marine engineering and other interested parties.

Substantive changes have been made to the rule format from the previous WACs, 220-77-090 and 220-77-095 including the designation of a new Chapter 220-150 WAC specific to ballast water management. Many of the previous requirements have been extensively revised to improve clarity of intent and process for compliance. Rule requirements are divided into three groups: deleted rules that are no longer required; carry-over requirements from previous rules; and new requirements necessary to meet statute directives.

Proposed Ballast Water Rules – Discharge Performance Standards
Since 2000, the legislature (2000 c 108 §4) has anticipated that WDFW will adopt discharge performance standards for the effective treatment of ballast water. Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5923 (2007 c 350 §10) amended the statute to emphasize the need to create standards to “ensure that the discharge of ballast water poses minimal risk of introducing nonindigenous species.” A state discharge performance standard is required, since federal agencies continue to delay implementation of a national standard.

To move forward on this, WDFW filed a “Preproposal Statement of Inquiry” on June 29, 2009, to initiate new rule making for establishing a ballast water discharge performance standard and implementation timeline as authorized under RCW 77.120.030(3) and 77.120.040(5)(a). As practical and appropriate, the rules should be compatible with discharge performance standards set by the US Coast Guard and consistent with EPA’s Clean Water Act. To accomplish this, WDFW will consult with its Ballast Water Work Group, which is made up of other state and federal agencies, affected industries, tribal governments, environmental groups, academia, technical interests, and interested members of the public. Please contact the department if you are interested in participating on this group.


WDFW Contact Information

Questions or comments regarding the state’s Ballast Water Management Program may be directed to:

Allen Pleus
AIS Coordinator
(360) 902-2724
Amanda Newsom
(360) 902-2753

Questions or comments regarding vessel inspections and ballast water sampling may be directed to:

Keith Strieck
North Sound Inspector
(360) 918-3869

Gary Gertsen
Columbia River & South Sound Inspector
(360) 485-8060

West Coast Ballast Water Links