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Updates to Small Passenger Vessel and Ferry wastewater regulations

Regulation Update Summary

The public comment period is closed.

State regulations 18 AAC 69, Commercial Passenger Vessel Environmental Compliance Program, require citation revisions (PDF)  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 (PDF) were made available for a 30 day comment period. The public comment period started November 21, 2017 and will closed December 23, 2017. The Department did not receive a request for a public hearing . The Department welcomes any questions or requests for information by phone at 907-465-5138 or by email at

If you have questions, please feel free to contact .

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 (PDF)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 (PDF). The small cruise ship alternatives expired at the end of 2015. SB 3 (PDF) 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 (PDF) and HB 134 in 2009 that were not included in earlier revisions.

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