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SB 771: Vessels : Discharge Ban (2005)


SB 771 (2005) protects California’s coast and ocean by prohibiting the rapidly growing commercial shipping industry from discharging potentially harmful substances into California’s waters and air.  SB 771 extends existing discharge bans on cruise ships to all commercial ocean-going vessels by prohibiting them from discharging the following substances into California’s waters:

  • Oily bilge water
  • Hazardous waste
  • Sewage sludge.

SB 771 also bans commercial vessels that are equipped with storage technology from discharging the following in California’s waters:

  • Treated sewage
  • Gray water.

Additionally, SB 771 helps protect California’s coastal air by prohibiting incineration on all commercial vessels.

Final Status and Text

SB 771 is no longer active. Its final status was:
Signed into Law

You can read its final text on the Legislature's Bill Information site.

Background Information

Need for the Legislation:

Shipping volume is expected to triple in California ports by 2020.  In 2003 alone, commercial ocean-going vessels made 9,558 calls on California’s ports, typically spending one to four days in port and carrying 24 crew members.

Federal law allows commercial ocean-going vessels to discharge oily bilge water directly into harbors and coastal waters, incineration is unregulated and shipboard hazardous waste treatment has never been clearly defined.  SB 771 will prohibit commercial vessels from releasing these pollutants, building upon state laws enacted during the past several years that prohibit discharges from cruise ships.  In order to fully protect California’s coast and waters from contaminants from ships, the discharge ban must include all commercial ocean-going vessels.

News & Press Releases about SB 771

02/13/2012 - Simitian Legislation Creates Largest Coastal No-Discharge Zone in the Nation

02/13/2012 - EPA Bans Ships from Dumping Waste off State Coast

08/25/2010 - Simitian Welcomes EPA's 'No Discharge' Ruling for Ships

08/24/2010 - Ban on sewage dumping along California coast to get federal teeth

11/09/2005 - Simitian to Chair Senate Environmental Quality Committee

10/07/2005 - Governor Signs Simitian Bill to Protect California's Coast