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 DEC to issue a permit which may include limits or standards less stringent for not more than three years duration if DEC finds permitees are using the most technologically effective and economically feasible methods but are unable to meet Alaska WQSs at the point of discharge. DEC is currently drafting a permit that will become effective in 2013.

A preliminary report was submitted to the legislature in January 2013.

Preliminary Report to the Legislature

Implementation of the Panel was intended to depoliticize the process of identifying feasible technology. The Panel began 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.

Over the next two years, the Panel conducted five face-to-face meetings in Juneau and participated in nine conference calls. They collected as much information as possible from the Cruise Ship Industry and wastewater treatment system vendors and produced a Preliminary Report of their findings to the DEC. The Panel hosted a Technology Workshop in Juneau in September 2012.

The operation and facilitation of the Panel was open to the public to allow interested parties a close view of the proceedings.