Updates to Small Passenger Vessel and Ferry wastewater regulations

regulation update summary

The public comment period is now open

State regulations 18 AAC 69, Commercial Passenger Environmental Compliance Program, require citation revisions due to Senate Bill 3 becoming law in 2017. Senate Bill 3 addressed the expiration of the Best Management Practices alternative to issuing a permit for small cruise ships and state ferries (between 50 and 249 lower berths). The proposed changes are only to citations in the regulations to Alaska Statutes.

The proposed regulation updates have been made available for a 30 day comment period. The public comment period started November 21, 2017 and will close at 5:00 PM on Friday, December 23, 2017.

The Department did not receive a request for a public hearing by the November 29th request deadline. The Department welcomes any questions or requests for information by phone at 907-465-5138 or by email at DEC.WQ.Cruise@alaska.gov.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact edward.white@alaska.gov.

Public Involvement: How you can be involved

You may comment on the proposed regulations, including the potential costs of complying with the proposed changes:

  1. By submitting written comments to the Commercial Passenger Vessel Environmental Compliance Program, DEC Division of Water, 410 Willoughby Ave., Juneau, Alaska 99811. Additionally, the Division will accept comments by facsimile at (907) 269-7509 and by electronic mail at DEC.WQ.Cruise@alaska.gov.
  2. Comments may also be submitted through the Alaska Online Public Notice System.
  3. The Department did not receive a request for a public hearing by the November 29th request deadline. The Department welcomes any questions or requests for information by phone at 907-465-5138 or by email at DEC.WQ.Cruise@alaska.gov.
  4. The comments must be received no later than 5:00 PM. on December 23rd, 2017.

If you are a person with a disability who needs a special accommodation in order to participate in this process, please contact Natalie Wolfe at (907) 269-0291 or TDD Relay Service 1-800-770-8973/TTY not later than December 15, 2017 to ensure that any necessary accommodation can be provided.

Background Information

Regulations for Best Management Practices (BMP) plans were established in 2006 as an alternative to issuing a permit for wastewater discharge. The statute that implemented the alternative to meeting large cruise ship standards was set to expire in ten years. In 2013, HB 80 made changes to the large cruise ship permitting requirements and intended to make the BMP alternative permanent. The BMP regulations were updated the same year. The small cruise ship alternatives expired at the end of 2015. SB 3 brought back small cruise ship and ferry BMPs as an alternative, but in a new section of AS 46.03.462.

Best Management Plans must include restrictions on discharging in critical habitat areas, discharges only with a working marine sanitation devices to treat sewage, and operational practices to minimize impact to the environment and human health. The Department monitors sample results and can inspect from each ship operating under a BMP. The regulations include provisions for the Department to withdraw the approval of a BMP if a ship does not met BMP requirements. The ship would then need to stop discharging wastewater and apply for a permit.

The proposed revisions are to citations that must be updated because of the expiration of the BMP alternative in statute and the implementation again with SB 3 in 2017. Included in the proposed changes are citation updates to the BMP and public notice regulations to address statute changes made with Ballot Measure II in 2006 and HB 134 in 2009 that were not included in earlier revisions.

Additional information

Contact

Ed White
Environmental Program Specialist
Commercial Passenger Vessel Environmental Compliance Program
edward.white@alaska.gov
(907) 465-5138