The Marine Retailers Association of
the Americas joined with other marine groups in a grassroots campaign requesting
the US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water Quality to complete the
saltwater criteria document for copper that would be based on new data and the
Biotic Ligand Model (BLM). This new
standard would allow for more accurate marine and estuarine water quality
criteria to be developed to protect the environment and would create more
scientifically defensible regulatory actions in coastal states.
sent a letter to the appropriate state environmental departments in every
coastal state asking for their support.
more precise method of determining copper toxicity levels is desired for the
marine industry due to the great uncertainty and misguidance surrounding the use
of copper bottom paints and how these paints truly effect the environment. Boat bottom paints that contain copper are
widely used as the most effective means of preventing bio-fouling of
hulls. MRAA believes 80-90% of
commercial vessels use copper based paints because there is simply nothing better
on the market. Recreational boaters use
this type of paint more than any other.
traditionally haul boats and pressure-wash bottoms to remove algae and other
marine growth. This activity requires a
special permit under the Clean Water Act.
The permit review process has often resulted in marinas stopping
pressure washing or the installation of expensive equipment and/or storm water
runoff treatment systems. If a marina
can have its permit levels for copper based on the BLM, MRAA believes it can
more readily make decisions as to treatment options or even if a treatment
system is needed.
BLM established water quality system would protect the environment with
scientific-based data and would not burden the boater or the marina/boat yard.
asked the state governments to request the US EPA place a high priority on