Cruise Ship Program

Current Science Advisory Panel

The Science Advisory Panel (SAP) 2009 is a scientific advisory group structured to provide a balanced, unbiased technical expert assessment of commercial passenger vessel wastewater treatment systems. The purpose of the panel is to advise ADEC and create a report on the effectiveness of systems in use, additional technologically effective and economically feasible methods that could be employed on these ships, and the environmental benefit and cost of implementing such additional methods. The scope of the SAP is that of a consultative and advisory rather than a rulemaking body.

The legislature mandated the establishment of the Science Advisory Panel in HB 134. The intent of the legislature is that the minimum standards for the terms and conditions of wastewater discharge permits for large commercial passenger vessels meet all applicable state and federal effluent limits or standards, including Alaska Water Quality Standards (WQSs), governing pollution at the point of discharge. In the interim HB 134 also allows, and ADEC is currently drafting, a permit which may include limits or standards less stringent for not more than three years duration if ADEC finds permitees are using the most technologically effective and economically feasible methods but are unable to meet Alaska WQSs at the point of discharge.

Implementation of the SAP 2009 is intended to depoliticize the process of identifying feasible technology. The SAP 2009 will begin in winter 2010 with a review of the development of current law and the cruise ship wastewater permit, followed in spring 2010 with an examination of treatment methods now in use aboard cruise ships, including the Source Reduction Evaluation Reports prepared by each Cruise Ship Line and the results of a technology conference held in early 2009.

The operation and facilitation of the SAP 2009 is intended to be transparent, detailed, and open to allow interested public a close view of the proceedings.