The 26th Alaska State Legislature, 2009 - 2010||
Sponsor Statement: House Bill 134
Cruise Ship Wastewater Discharge Permits
|Signed Into Law! Chapter 53 SLA 09|
Sponsored by Rep. John Harris
Co-Sponsors: Rep. Kelly, Rep. Millett, Rep. Johansen, Rep. Keller, Rep. Chenault, 0, Rep. Johnson, Rep. Wilson, Rep. Muñoz, Rep. Hawker, Rep. Dahlstrom
“Relating to the terms and conditions of commercial passenger vessel permits for the discharge of graywater, treated sewage, and other wastewater; establishing a science advisory panel on wastewater treatment and effluent quality in the Department of Environmental Conservation; and providing for an effective date.”
Posted: March 31, 2009 : vCSHB 134(RES)
Bill Version: SCS CSHB 134(FIN)
Status: Chapter 53 SLA 09 : 2009-07-09
The House Resources Committee Substitute for HB 134 represents a compromise to address the issue of permits for wastewater discharges from large commercial passenger vessels known as cruise ships.
In 2006, Alaska voters approved the cruise ship initiative that amended the law to require vessels to meet water quality standards at the point of discharge. Municipal wastewater systems and discharges from other commercial entities commonly use mixing zones, and smaller-sized vessels in Alaska are exempt.
In 2008, the Department of Environmental Conservation issued a general permit for all large cruise ships that provided a two-year period for vessels to meet standards at the point of discharge. DEC has also conducted a cruise ship technology conference on available treatments for discharges of ammonia and dissolved metals.
All sides on this issue agree that technology is unavailable now for onboard treatment of wastewater that allows vessels to meet all water quality standards at the point of discharge.
This bill addresses how the agency will permit wastewater discharges from vessels to allow for the time it takes to get the technology developed and installed onboard. It is important to keep in mind that cruise ships discharge cleaner wastewater than most municipalities, commercial entities, and all other Alaska vessels.
The House Resources Committee version of HB 134 establishes a reasonable compromise that will both protect Alaska waters and allow coastal communities that opportunity for cruise ships to stay in port longer.