Laws and Regulations

Marinas are subject to a variety of regulations related to land use; pollution control; habitat preservation; and safe and proper use of the state’s waterways. Several federal and state authorities are responsible for oversight of such regulations in Illinois.

This section of laws, regulations, and permits is a summary. It is by no means comprehensive, but is meant to provide:

  • An overview of some relevant state laws
  • A synopsis of information about permits and licenses
  • An introduction to the responsibilities of certain state agencies

Detailed information on state requirements can be found throughout the forthcoming Illinois Clean Marina Guidebook, expected to launch in May, 2013.

For additional information and support in pursuing certification contact the Illinois Clean Marina Program.

Remember to use the Illinois Clean Marina Certification Checklist as a guide in completing this Classroom. The checklist will inform you what is required for certification by the Illinois Clean Marina program.

Selected State Laws that Affect Illinois Marinas

Boater Registration and Safety Act (625 I L CS 45/4-9)

It is illegal under this act to discharge sewage into state waterways. Required measures for preventing illegal discharge are outlined in the Federal Clean Water Act. Any vessel with an installed toilet must be equipped with a USCG certified Type I, Type II, or Type III marine sanitation device (MSD). Vessels 65 feet and under may have any of the three types of MSDs. Vessels over 65 feet must have a Type II or III system. Additionally, Type I and Type II systems must display a certification label affixed by the manufacturer. This label is not required on Type III systems.

General Solid Waste Management (35 IA C 807-810)

These rules establish procedures for the storage, transport, and disposal of solid waste, including special waste. Solid waste management requirements differ depending on the material and quantity. See the “Waste Containment and Disposal” chapter of the Illinois Clean Marina guidebook.

Hazardous Waste Management (35 IA C 720-729)

These rules expand upon the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and outline requirements for hazardous waste management in Illinois. Requirements under these laws differ depending on the amount of hazardous waste generated onsite. See the “Waste Containment and Disposal” chapter of the Illinois Clean Marina guidebook.

Illinois Environmental Protection Act (415 I L CS 5)

The Illinois Environmental Protection Act establishes a unified, state-wide program for protecting and enhancing environmental quality. This act is at the center of the state’s efforts to limit the negative impacts of activities on the environment and to ensure that any adverse effects are borne by those who cause them. Included in this law is a ban on the disposal of certain materials in Illinois landfills or incineration facilities. Materials include major appliances, lead acid batteries, yard waste, waste oil, and electronic waste.

Illinois Pesticide Act (415 I L CS 60)

The Illinois Pesticide Act (415 ILCS 60) requires marinas that apply antifouling paints to boats to follow certain licensing and certification regulations. These requirements differ depending on whether the marina is applying the antifouling paints in a for-hire status and whether the paint is a restricted-used product. In Illinois, antifouling paints containing tributyl tin are classified as a restricted-use pesticide. The federal Organotin Antifouling Paint Control Act (OAPCA) also restricts the use of tin-based paints on aluminum vessels, boats larger than 82 feet (25 meters), outboard motors, and lower drive units. See the “Vessel Maintenance and Repair” chapter of the Illinois Clean Marina guidebook for more information on specific antifouling paint requirements.

Oil Spill Reporting and Response (41 IA C 176.300-176.360)

Under these rules, owners or operators of petroleum storage tanks are required to immediately report the spill or release of petroleum to IEMA at (800) 782-7860. Spills must also be reported to the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802. Failure to report any spill may result in substantial fines. Owners and operators are also required to immediately clean up any petroleum spill or overfill of 25 gallons or less.

Petroleum Dispensing and Fueling (41 IA C 175.250)

It is illegal under this rule for boaters to fuel their own vessels at a marina. Marinas must ensure that an attendant is always available to fuel vessels for customers. This rule also requires that emergency shutoff switches be installed at each fueling facility in case of fire or physical damage.

Rivers, Lakes, and Streams Act (615 I L CS 5)

This law governs the use of public waters and gives IDNR the authority to regulate construction activities in state waterways. Marina development and expansion projects require joint permits from USACE, IDNR, and IEPA. See the Environmental Permits and Licenses section below for more information on required permits.

Sewage Management (77 IA C 800.1300)

This rule requires marinas to provide pump-out stations wherever boats equipped with toilets are allowed to dock in recreational areas. Shoreside restrooms for both men and women are also required if marinas provide docking facilities for overnight sleeping. Restrooms must be located within 500 feet of recreational areas. 

Stormwater Management (35 IA C 309)

This rule gives IEPA the authority to implement the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) created by Clean Water Act. The system regulates stormwater discharge from construction sites, industrial facilities, and selected municipalities. Most marinas are required to have a Storm Water Permit for Industrial Activities. See the Environmental Permits and Licenses section below for more information. 

Summary of Environmental Permits and Licenses

Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit

Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the majority of marina development and expansion projects along the Great Lakes, including dredging, will require a joint permit from USACE, IDNR, and IEPA. Before a Section 404 permit can be issued, IEPA must certify that the proposed project is in compliance with the state’s water quality standards (33 U.S.C. 1341). For individual permits, certification occurs during the application review. In order for nationwide permits and other general permits issued by USACE to be valid in Illinois, IEPA must have already certified that the activities they permit will meet water quality standards. Applications that fail to meet water quality standards can be denied even if the proposed activity complies with all other Section 404 provisions. For additional information on the certification program, call the IEPA Watershed Management Section at (217) 782-3362. 

Illinois Construction Permits

In addition to federal permits, 17 IAC 3700-3708 require marinas to obtain a permit from IDNR for any construction project in a public body of water. Permits are usually required for individual projects, although some common construction activities are covered under statewide and regional permits. Work that meets all the specified limits of a statewide or regional permit is automatically approved. Marina projects that may require permits include dredging, control of aquatic nuisance species, placement of docks/piers, bank stabilization, and building of marina breakwater structures.

NPDES Stormwater Discharge Permits

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Management Program, created in an amendment to the Federal Clean Water Act, regulates stormwater discharge from construction sites, industrial facilities, and selected municipalities. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is in charge of implementing the program and issuing general permits in Illinois.

Most marinas and boatyards are considered Tier II industries, and are required to have a Storm Water Permit for Industrial Activities if they allow boat maintenance, mechanical repair, painting, cleaning, fueling, lubrication or provide outdoor boat storage (35 IAC 309).

Under 35 IAC 309, marinas are also required to have a General Storm Water Permit for Construction Activity before beginning projects that will disturb one acre or more of land. Landowners need to submit an application called a Notice of Intent (NOI) to request coverage under these permits.

As a condition of stormwater permits, each marina must develop a site-specific stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) and implement best management practices to ensure that stormwater leaving the marina property will not harm the surrounding water quality.

Discharges incidental to the normal operation of recreational vessels are exempt from obtaining a NPDES permit. These discharges include graywater, bilge water, cooling water, weather deck runoff, oil water separator effluent, or effluent from properly functioning marine engines. 

NPDES Pesticide Application Point Source Discharge Permit

Part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), Illinois created the General NPDES Permit for Pesticide Application Point Source Discharge in 2011. Marinas are required to have this permit if they use biological or chemical pesticides on the water or along the shoreline to manage plants, insects, or animals (35 IAC 309). Marinas can either acquire this permit for themselves or contract with a permitted commercial pesticide applicator.

As a condition of the General Permit for Pesticide Application, marinas that apply pesticides to more than 80 acres of water surface area or 20 linear miles of shoreline annually must develop and implement a Pesticide Discharge Management Plan.


State Agencies

Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)

IDNR is responsible for the preservation, protection, and effective management of Illinois’s natural, recreational, and cultural resources. The department implements state and federal laws that protect and enhance the state’s natural resources and coordinates the many disciplines and programs necessary to provide a clean environment and a full range of outdoor recreational opportunities for Illinois citizens and visitors. As the public trustee for the portions of Lake Michigan that lie within the state, IDNR oversees any manmade changes to the lakebed and the Chicago River.

Website: Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA)

This agency protects environmental quality in Illinois by enforcing environmental regulations and managing state and federal clean air, water, and land permit programs. IEPA is responsible for overseeing and promoting market-based approaches for preventing water pollution, including stormwater runoff. It is also charged with educating citizens, companies, and government agencies on best practices for securing the health of the environment. Through its Office of Emergency Response, IEPA also works with other agencies to respond to environmental emergencies involving oil or hazardous materials and oversees cleanup efforts.

Website: Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA)

IEMA is responsible for preparing the state for natural or manmade disasters and hazards.  Through its State Emergency Response Commission, IEMA prepares communities for chemical emergencies and responds to reported releases of oil or hazardous chemicals. IEMA also establishes and supports Local Emergency Planning Committees.

Website: Illinois Emergency Management Agency

Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM)

This agency implements programs designed to save lives and property from fire and explosions. OSFM is responsible for inspecting and licensing aboveground and underground petroleum tank systems. In addition, OSFM conducts the operator training required by state and federal law.

Website: Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal

Source: Illinois Clean Marina Program Guidebook, 2013.