Legislature(2007 - 2008)CAPITOL 17

03/08/2007 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION

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01:31:52 PM Start
01:32:06 PM HB164
02:53:49 PM Presentation: Port of Bellingham
03:10:11 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
Heard & Held
+ Presentation: Port of Bellingham TELECONFERENCED
HB 164-OCEAN RANGERS & REPORTING VESSEL LOCATION                                                                              
1:32:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR JOHANSEN announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 164, "An  Act relating to reporting  of vessel                                                               
location  by certain  commercial passenger  vessels operating  in                                                               
the marine waters of the state,  to access to vessels by licensed                                                               
marine  engineers  for  purposes of  monitoring  compliance  with                                                               
state and federal  requirements, and to the  obligations of those                                                               
engineers  while  aboard  the  vessels;   and  providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
1:32:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR JOHANSEN  noted that an  issue he anticipated coming  up is                                                               
whether   the  legislature   has  the   authority  to   amend  an                                                               
initiative.    He requested  that  committee  members keep  those                                                               
questions until  next week  when legal experts  on the  issue are                                                               
available.  He  also stated that he would like  to incorporate by                                                               
reference the testimony documents  that were before the committee                                                               
during the 2/20/07 overview of the Ocean Ranger Program.                                                                        
1:33:09 PM                                                                                                                    
RANDALL  RUARO, Staff  to  Representative  Kyle Johansen,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  presented HB 164 on  behalf of Representative                                                               
Johansen, chair  of the House Transportation  Standing Committee,                                                               
sponsor of HB 164.  He  stated that keeping Alaska's waters clean                                                               
is an important goal.  He  acknowledged that there were issues of                                                               
serious concern with  the old cruise ship fleet  of several years                                                               
ago.   However, he said,  that old  fleet is very  different from                                                               
the fleet of today and the fleet of the future.                                                                                 
MR.  RUARO  urged  the  committee to  focus  and  remember  these                                                               
differences because  they are critical to  understanding the bill                                                               
and the issues.   He said that  prior to 2002, only 2  out of the                                                               
24 cruise ships  operating in Alaska had an AWTS  (AWTS).  Today,                                                               
24 out  of 29 vessels  have advanced treatment systems,  an 1,100                                                               
percent  increase in  a five-year  period.   He related  that the                                                               
Department of  Environmental Conservation (DEC)  report entitled,                                                               
"Assessment  of  Cruise  Ship and  Ferry  Wastewater  Impacts  in                                                               
Alaska," dated  February 9, 2004,  spells out why these  AWTS are                                                               
so  important.   He read  from page  55 of  the report  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Since  the  passage of  the  Alaska  cruise ship  laws,                                                                    
     large cruise  ships have installed  advanced wastewater                                                                    
     treatment systems  that meet  the stringent  U.S. Coast                                                                    
     Guard  [USCG]  requirements for  continuous  discharge.                                                                    
     The  quality  of  the wastewater  on  large  ships  has                                                                    
     therefore improved dramatically.                                                                                           
MR. RUARO then read from page  35 of the report to illustrate how                                                               
dramatic was the change [original punctual provided]:                                                                           
     WET testing results and a  comparison of sample results                                                                    
     with Alaska  Water Quality Standards indicate  that the                                                                    
     effluent from  these advanced  systems is  not expected                                                                    
     to cause toxicity to the  marine environment.  No human                                                                    
     health  risk  is  posed by  the  low  concentration  of                                                                    
     tested pollutants found in wastewater samples.                                                                             
     The   wastewater   samples  indicate   that   hazardous                                                                    
     materials  are  not   being  discharged  through  these                                                                    
     wastewater treatment systems.                                                                                              
MR. RUARO  then returned  to pages  55 and 56  of the  report and                                                               
read further [original punctuation slightly modified]:                                                                          
     Test  results indicate  that  wastewater effluent  from                                                                    
     large ships with  advanced wastewater treatment systems                                                                    
     does not pose a risk  to aquatic organisms, even during                                                                    
     stationary   discharges....None   of   the   pollutants                                                                    
     mentioned  above  are  present in  concentrations  that                                                                    
     should cause risks to human health.                                                                                        
1:36:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. RUARO  noted that  there are  already several  precautions in                                                               
place by  DEC and  the USCG  to make sure  that the  sampling and                                                               
handling of  the wastewater  discharge is  done properly  and the                                                               
results  accurately reported.    These precautions  include:   a)                                                               
always having the  samples taken by a team of  at least 2 trained                                                               
employees  of  the  independent contractor  and  these  employees                                                               
usually  have a  four-year  degree  in a  science  field, and  b)                                                               
having a DEC  employee, who is trained in the  science and proper                                                               
monitoring and  sample taking, periodically  board a  vessel with                                                               
the independent contractor team for  the purpose of watching over                                                               
the team's  work and evaluating  and reporting the work  based on                                                               
25 different  criteria.  This  report is submitted in  writing to                                                               
DEC and the USCG, Mr. Ruaro said.   At times there will also be a                                                               
scientist  from the  University of  Alaska who  will periodically                                                               
board  the ships  to  observe  and report  on  the sample  taking                                                               
MR. RUARO stated that all  of the sampling and testing procedures                                                               
are reviewed annually  by DEC and the USCG, and  that the Quality                                                               
Analysis Quality  Control manual  is also  updated annually.   He                                                               
related that  he reviewed audits of  the independent contractor's                                                               
work and that in  2006 the contractor did not fail  any of the 25                                                               
criteria in the audits.                                                                                                         
1:38:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. RUARO  said that  with these  facts in  mind, HB  164 narrows                                                               
down  the  requirements  of the  Cruise  Ship  Ballot  Initiative                                                               
[Ballot Measure  2 passed by Alaska  voters in August 2006].   He                                                               
commenced with a section-by-section review  of HB 164:  Section 1                                                               
clarifies that  the real-time hourly  reports of  vessel location                                                               
go  to  the  USCG,  which  is the  federal  agency  charged  with                                                               
homeland security  and pollution  enforcement and  monitoring for                                                               
cruise ships.   This clarification is because  the initiative was                                                               
ambiguous Cruise Ship Ballot Initiative  in this regard.  Section                                                               
2  clarifies when  owners and  operators have  to allow  an ocean                                                               
ranger onboard the  vessel.  The language of  the initiative says                                                               
that owners  and operators are  required to have a  USCG licensed                                                               
marine  engineer on  board the  vessel, but  it does  not specify                                                               
when or  for how long.   This  section states that  ocean rangers                                                               
are  only to  be onboard  at times  designated by  DEC while  the                                                               
vessel is  in port.   Section  3 amends the  scope of  the public                                                               
health  duties to  be performed  by  the ocean  rangers to  those                                                               
duties  related to  the monitoring,  observing, and  recording of                                                               
data  and  information  that are  related  to  the  registration,                                                               
reporting,  record-keeping, and  discharge functions  required by                                                               
state and federal law.                                                                                                          
MR. RUARO reported that the  scaled-down program envisioned by HB                                                               
164 costs significantly  less to create and operate.   The fiscal                                                               
note  shows  a reduction  of  roughly  $4-$5 million  in  program                                                               
1:41:41 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM DOW,  Northwest Cruise  Ship Association,  stated that  he is                                                               
representing the association's member  lines that are affected by                                                               
this  legislation.   He  said  he  is  Vice President  of  Public                                                               
Affairs for Carnival Corporation  which is the parent corporation                                                               
for Princess  Cruises, Holland America Cruise  Line, and Carnival                                                               
MR. DOW noted that Alaska's  involvement in wastewater discharges                                                               
from cruise ships began in 1999.   He said state legislation that                                                               
passed in 2000  required cruise ships to  meet tertiary treatment                                                               
standards,  the highest  standard existing  in the  state at  the                                                               
time.  The legislation was  taken word-for-word from the standard                                                               
for discharges  in areas  where there  is seafood  processing, he                                                               
said.  It  is significant that the discharge standard  is "at the                                                               
end of the pipe", he explained.   This is because most permitted,                                                               
land-based wastewater systems  rely on water quality  at the "end                                                               
of a mixing zone" to take  into account the natural dilution that                                                               
occurs after  the waste stream  exits the pipe.   Therefore, "end                                                               
of the pipe"  is the highest standard of treatment  and it is the                                                               
easiest to  measure and monitor  for compliance because  the test                                                               
sample is simply taken at the end of the pipe and sent to a lab.                                                                
1:44:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DOW  related that there  were no  such systems on  any ships,                                                               
anywhere,  when the  law  passed,  so it  allowed  two years  for                                                               
research and  development of a  system that could be  adapted for                                                               
marine discharge  within State  of Alaska  waters.   These waters                                                               
are defined as all of the  waters of the Alexander Archipelago up                                                               
to three miles beyond [shore]; and  the three miles from shore in                                                               
the  Gulf of  Alaska.   He  outlined the  wastewater testing  and                                                               
sampling procedures which  were discussed in detail  later in the                                                               
hearing by  Mr. David Wetzel.   Mr. Dow  noted that 2007  will be                                                               
sixth season of operation and  that during this period the number                                                               
of  ships equipped  with these  treatment  systems has  increased                                                               
from 25 percent to nearly 100 percent  - only one or two ships do                                                               
not have  them.  Of  Carnival Corporation's combined fleet  of 17                                                               
ships, 16 have the advanced systems, he said.                                                                                   
1:45:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DOW stated  that he thinks this  is a success story.   It has                                                               
required  a   significant  investment  of  time,   training,  and                                                               
equipment and  is now  considered a  model in  most of  the other                                                               
coastal cruising  areas of the country.   He said that  each year                                                               
DEC  publishes a  report  and  that while  things  have not  been                                                               
perfect,  lessons   have  been  learned,  and   fine  tuning  and                                                               
adjustments are  always being made  in conjunction with  DEC, the                                                               
private contractors,  and the treatment  plant vendors.   Through                                                               
competition among the cruise lines  and the technology suppliers,                                                               
three or four types of treatment systems were designed.                                                                         
MR. DOW  advised that work  is ongoing to continue  improving the                                                               
wastewater treatment facilities and  that the industry is willing                                                               
to  work  with  regulators  to make  further  improvements.    He                                                               
related  that the  current  systems are  working  as designed  to                                                               
comply with law  and that they are  providing adequate protection                                                               
and  are providing  more treatment  levels  than are  communities                                                               
within the state.  He stated  that the Association does not think                                                               
putting Ocean  Rangers onboard  will improve  the quality  of the                                                               
water in Alaska and that there  are other ways that might provide                                                               
assurance of  this.   Hundreds of millions  of dollars  have been                                                               
invested in  these systems, he  said, and  they are state  of the                                                               
art.  He voiced the Association's support for HB 164.                                                                           
1:49:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN asked whether  someone "monkeying" with the                                                               
waste  treatment  system  is  the only  way  for  a  noncompliant                                                               
discharge to happen.                                                                                                            
MR. DOW answered no, that  the equipment can malfunction, such as                                                               
a filter breaking loose, a pump  pumping when it should not, or a                                                               
valve  not  closing.    This  can  happen  accidentally  with  no                                                               
intentional action on anyone's part.   He noted that ships have a                                                               
system  of self-tests  onboard  that  act as  a  method of  early                                                               
warning  and that  this  is also  what  most municipal  treatment                                                               
plants  also do.   He  said  there is  a procedure  that must  be                                                               
followed  if  an independent  lab  finds  a  ship  to be  out  of                                                               
compliance.    The   state  must  be  notified   and  given  some                                                               
indication of why the noncompliance  happened and what corrective                                                               
action will be  taken.  Until the system is  fixed, retested, and                                                               
recertified,  the ship  cannot  discharge in  state  waters.   He                                                               
explained that, currently,  cruise ships do not  have a "permit",                                                               
but  they have  "permission" to  discharge.   This permission  is                                                               
withdrawn  if the  ship is  not meeting  the standards.   So,  he                                                               
said,  there   could  be  a   brief  period  of  time   before  a                                                               
[noncompliant]   discharge   is   discovered,   but   these   are                                                               
1:52:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DOW, in  response to a question  from Representative Johnson,                                                               
explained that when there is  a system failure the ship continues                                                               
sailing and the effluent is  diverted into a holding tank instead                                                               
of  being  pumped   overboard.    The  holding   tank  cannot  be                                                               
discharged  until the  ship is  out  of Alaska  waters, he  said,                                                               
which means  being 15-20 miles  offshore and operating  at higher                                                               
1:53:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DOOGAN inquired  whether  it is  possible for  an                                                               
equipment  failure  or  breakage  to not  be  discovered  for  an                                                               
extended period of time.                                                                                                        
MR. DOW  responded that it  usually is not because  the equipment                                                               
is broken, it's  usually a malfunction.  He  acknowledged that it                                                               
is possible for there to be a period of time.                                                                                   
1:54:00 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDREW PHILLIPS,  Marine Director, Princess Cruises,  stated that                                                               
all 8 of the Princess Cruises  ships sailing in Alaska are fitted                                                               
with  advanced wastewater  plant ships.   The  larger ships  have                                                               
three  plants  onboard  and  the  smaller ships  have  two.    He                                                               
reported that  if one plant goes  down, the other two  plants are                                                               
capable  of managing  the  wastewater onboard.    Whether new  or                                                               
retrofitted,  all of  the  ships'  plants are  made  by the  same                                                               
manufacturer.   He  said  that in  these  plants, the  wastewater                                                               
first  goes  through a  biological  treatment  and then  it  goes                                                               
through an advanced, high-pressure  filtration system composed of                                                               
micron-sized membranes  to remove  the bacteria.   The wastewater                                                               
receives  a  final  ultra-violet   (UV)  treatment  before  being                                                               
discharged overboard.  Chlorine is  no longer used for treatment.                                                               
He related that the advanced  wastewater treatment plants onboard                                                               
the ships  of every cruise  line may have minor  differences, but                                                               
that generally they operate in the same fashion.                                                                                
MR. PHILLIPS  reported that Princess  Cruises has found  that the                                                               
treatments plants exceed Alaska's  requirements by at least half.                                                               
He explained that  because there is more than  one plant onboard,                                                               
the  overboard discharge  will  still be  in  compliance even  if                                                               
there is a malfunction in one  of the plants.  When a malfunction                                                               
is  detected, the  plant can  be shut  down and  repaired without                                                               
affecting  compliance.    An initial  issue  with  installing  an                                                               
advanced wastewater plant on a  ship versus a land-based facility                                                               
is that all  of the systems onboard operate  under vacuum systems                                                               
with the toilets.   Therefore, the amount of water  used is a lot                                                               
less and results  in a much higher concentration.   He noted that                                                               
the systems are constantly being improved.                                                                                      
1:59:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PHILLIPS noted  that  in the  event of  a  power failure  on                                                               
Princess  ships, discharge  from the  treatment plants  cannot be                                                               
resumed until the  UV filter is again operational.   He said that                                                               
in addition to the twice-a-month  test, Princess also tests every                                                               
other week with a lab.   Plus, he said, Princess conducts its own                                                               
tests every single week.  He  stated that if an engineer observes                                                               
discoloration  in  the  discharge,  the banks  of  membranes  are                                                               
arranged  in  groups so  that  they  can  be switched  while  the                                                               
machinery is overhauled.                                                                                                        
MR. PHILLIPS said there are  regular maintenance overhauls of the                                                               
plants  on Princess  ships.    At the  beginning  of each  Alaska                                                               
season, a vendor  comes out to the ships and  monitors the plants                                                               
to  make sure  everything is  running.   He said  the plants  are                                                               
continuously running  regardless of where the  ships are sailing,                                                               
they  are  not turned  off  when  the  ships  leave Alaska.    He                                                               
reported  that the  Golden  Princess, which  will  be sailing  in                                                               
Alaska  this season,  is currently  being retrofitted  with three                                                               
plants at a cost of about $2.7 million.                                                                                         
2:02:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN  asked what  alerts the  ship's staff  to a                                                               
malfunction in the system.                                                                                                      
MR. PHILLIPS replied  that there is a discoloration  and there is                                                               
a turbidity alarm  on the system that shuts the  system down when                                                               
there is  a malfunction.   He said  the turbidity alarm  does not                                                               
actually  measure  the  fecal  coliform   levels,  but  that  the                                                               
increase   in   turbidity   indicates    that   the   system   is                                                               
malfunctioning.   The  most  common failure  is  that a  membrane                                                               
fails and the clear liquid  becomes discolored, he said.  Another                                                               
problem that could  occur is blockage of the  diffusers that blow                                                               
air into the  tanks to provide oxygen for  the biological actions                                                               
to  take place,  and  this  would be  indicated  by  a change  in                                                               
pressure which is monitored.                                                                                                    
2:04:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.   PHILLIPS,  in   response   to  a   further  question   from                                                               
Representative  Doogan, stated  that malfunctions  are discovered                                                               
relatively quickly.   He acknowledged  that there are  times when                                                               
the  turbidity  can  still  be   fine  even  though  there  is  a                                                               
malfunction.  The  most common and easy test that  is carried out                                                               
onboard, he said,  is the coliform test which takes  a day to get                                                               
the  results.   He noted  that a  discoloration from  one of  the                                                               
membranes does  not necessarily mean that  the overboard effluent                                                               
is out of compliance.                                                                                                           
2:05:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  inquired as  to  whether  there are  any                                                               
ships  sailing in  Alaska waters  that only  have one  wastewater                                                               
treatment plant onboard.                                                                                                        
MR. PHILLIPS said  that the answer is "no"  for Princess Cruises,                                                               
but that  he could not answer  the question for the  other cruise                                                               
2:05:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON asked  if  a ship  with  only two  plants                                                               
could  still  handle   the  wastewater  if  one   of  the  plants                                                               
MR.  PHILLIPS responded  that because  the plants  are built  for                                                               
increased capacity,  they could  still manage on  one.   Also, if                                                               
needed, the  ship would still  have the additional  holding tanks                                                               
2:06:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR JOHANSEN inquired as to  whether these systems are approved                                                               
by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).                                                                                                 
MR. PHILLIPS  reported that all  of the systems  onboard Princess                                                               
ships are  USCG certified and  that they also  have International                                                               
Maritime  Organization (IMO)  certification.   He clarified  that                                                               
within the  IMO there  is no  recognition for  advanced treatment                                                               
plants, only  that they meet  the sanitation standards  for "Type                                                               
II".   However, they  do meet  USCG certification  for continuous                                                               
MR.  PHILLIPS,  in response  to  a  further question  from  Chair                                                               
Johansen, stated  that there are engineering  staff assigned with                                                               
the responsibility  of maintenance,  as well as  an environmental                                                               
officer who  has direct  responsibility to  the captain  and they                                                               
must  report  anything out  of  the  ordinary.   In  addition  to                                                               
monitoring the  plant and carrying  out tests,  the environmental                                                               
officer  must also  monitor  the  records on  a  daily basis  for                                                               
ensuring  that   notifications  and  when  and   where  there  is                                                               
discharge are in accordance with regulations.                                                                                   
2:08:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked whether  discharge is continuous, or                                                               
as-needed, or does it go into a holding tank.                                                                                   
MR. PHILLIPS  related that  if a Princess  ship has  approval for                                                               
continuous  discharge, it  will  be  discharging continuously  as                                                               
long as the systems are working  properly.  The exception is when                                                               
the  ship is  in Glacier  Bay, Tracy  Arm, or  College Fjord  [in                                                               
Prince William Sound], in which  case the treated wastewater goes                                                               
into  a holding  tank and  is not  discharged until  the ship  is                                                               
outside of Alaskan waters.                                                                                                      
MR.   PHILLIPS,  in   response   to  a   further  question   from                                                               
Representative  Johnson, said  that  there  are numerous  holding                                                               
tanks onboard, some of which hold untreated wastewater.                                                                         
2:10:14 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID WETZEL,  Admiralty Environmental,  stated that  his company                                                               
is  a  third  party  independent firm  that  provides  compliance                                                               
sampling  and  contracted  analytical services  to  cruise  lines                                                               
operating in  Alaska.   He noted that  his company's  third party                                                               
independence is the  basis for its internal  quality programs and                                                               
provides  accurate  and  defensible  results  to  the  regulatory                                                               
agencies involved.                                                                                                              
MR. WETZEL  discussed the Quality Assurance/Quality  Control Plan                                                               
(QA/QCP)  that was  adopted  in  1999 after  a  series of  public                                                               
meetings.   It was later  promulgated into federal and  state law                                                               
and is  still in effect  today.  Under  the QA/QCP, each  ship is                                                               
subjected to two unannounced sampling  events for a comprehensive                                                               
list  of  conventional and  priority  pollutants.   Items  tested                                                               
include traditional  wastewater contaminants,  organic chemicals,                                                               
and  trace  metals. He  said  that  the QA/QCP  undergoes  annual                                                               
review from the  regulatory agencies and all  parties involved to                                                               
ensure that the  sampling program is effective  and meets current                                                               
regulations.  The  QA/QCP is a 36 page document  that explains in                                                               
detail the  unannounced sampling  program including  the purpose,                                                               
methods,  restriction,   quality  control,  oversight,   flow  of                                                               
information,  and other  things.   Mr. Wetzel  reported that  his                                                               
company develops a schedule of  announced sampling events that is                                                               
shared with  the Department  of Environmental  Conservation (DEC)                                                               
and the USCG,  but not with the vessel owners.   The agencies are                                                               
welcome to attend and observe these sampling events.                                                                            
MR. WETZEL  explained that prior  to entering Alaska  waters each                                                               
vessel is  required to  produce a  Vessel Specific  Sampling Plan                                                               
(VSSP) that  must be approved by  both DEC and the  USCG.  Within                                                               
this plan  are outlines for  all aspects of the  ship's treatment                                                               
system, including  the flow  rates, treatment  capacity, sampling                                                               
procedures,   and   contingencies   in  the   event   of   system                                                               
malfunction.   He  said that  Admiralty Environmental's  samplers                                                               
are  trained in  all aspects  of environmental  sampling and  are                                                               
certified  samplers  through  DEC.    Each  sampler  has  a  full                                                               
understanding of the  QA/QCP and the VSSP for  the specific ships                                                               
that they  will be sampling.   A standard operating  procedure is                                                               
followed for  all sampling  and sample  handling activities.   He                                                               
noted that the company's samplers are  required to sign a code of                                                               
ethics outlining  their conduct  and the disciplinary  action for                                                               
any violation of the internal procedures.                                                                                       
MR.  WETZEL pointed  out that  the QA/QCP  requires two  separate                                                               
quality control officers  to oversee the project  and ensure that                                                               
the  sampling team  and laboratory  facilities are  following the                                                               
plan's provisions.   These  officers are Mr.  Jim Gendron  of DEC                                                               
and Dr.  Lisa Hoferkamp  of the  University of  Alaska Southeast.                                                               
He reported that  DEC conducts five audits  throughout the season                                                               
of Admiralty  Environmental's sampling  events and  Dr. Hoferkamp                                                               
conducts two separate  audits of her own.  The  audit reports are                                                               
shared with  DEC, the USCG,  and the  project manager.   The 2006                                                               
audit   reports  showed   no   major   deficiencies,  he   noted.                                                               
Additionally, the quality assurance  officers also perform audits                                                               
of the laboratory data to ensure its quality.                                                                                   
2:14:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WETZEL reported that Admiralty  Environmental samplers are on                                                               
a permanent  boarding list for  all of  the cruise lines  so that                                                               
they can gain  passage for any unannounced sampling  event in any                                                               
Alaska port.   Sampling was performed  last season at all  of the                                                               
major cruise  ship destinations in  Alaska.  He pointed  out that                                                               
the samplers verify that the  ship is discharging overboard prior                                                               
to sampling.   While onboard  the samplers follow  procedures and                                                               
accompany  the  ship's  environmental officer  to  the  overboard                                                               
sampling port  where they  verify that  the port  location agrees                                                               
with the location outlined in the  VSSP.  Digital photos are also                                                               
taken for documentation.  The  samplers take detailed field notes                                                               
describing the  sampling event  and fill out  a chain  of custody                                                               
form  to accompany  the samples  to the  laboratory.   Mr. Wetzel                                                               
said that the ship's environmental  officer is asked to sign both                                                               
documents to verify that the  samples were taken from the correct                                                               
location  when  the  ship  was discharging.    When  sampling  is                                                               
completed a  copy is  collected of  the graywater  and blackwater                                                               
discharge record book that each ship is required to maintain.                                                                   
MR. WETZEL  noted that  in addition  to the  unannounced sampling                                                               
program, USCG  Regulation 33CFR159  also allows for  a continuous                                                               
discharge   program.     He  explained   that  to   gain  initial                                                               
certification   for   Alaska    waters,   vessels   must   submit                                                               
satisfactory  results  from  five  samples taken  over  a  30-day                                                               
period.    These sample  results  must  meet federal  limits  for                                                               
oxygen  demand,   suspended  solids,  pH,  fecal   coliform,  and                                                               
chlorine.   Once  certification is  granted, vessels  must submit                                                               
two satisfactory  samples monthly to maintain  the certification.                                                               
This  sampling  acts as  a  permitting-type  system and  is  also                                                               
monitored by  DEC, he said.   Of the 26 large  ships operating in                                                               
the program  during the 2006  season, 23 obtained  and maintained                                                               
this  continuous discharge  certification.   Most of  these ships                                                               
have maintained  this certification  during the off-season.   All                                                               
sampling and analytical procedures  for this continuous discharge                                                               
program must  also follow  the procedures in  the QA/QCP  for the                                                               
unannounced  program.   Therefore, he  pointed out,  the sampling                                                               
quality performed under both programs is essentially the same.                                                                  
2:18:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WETZEL stated  that all data from  unannounced and continuous                                                               
discharge  monitoring is  concurrently  delivered  to the  vessel                                                               
owner  and  the pertinent  regulatory  agencies.   In  this  way,                                                               
Admiralty  Environmental's activities  are audited  and monitored                                                               
by the regulatory  agencies to ensure quality.   Additionally, he                                                               
said, Admiralty  Environmental is certified  by both DEC  and the                                                               
U.S. Department  of Defense  and there  are severe  penalties for                                                               
any mishandling of information.                                                                                                 
2:18:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  WETZEL,   in  response  to  questions   from  Representative                                                               
Johnson, clarified  that the two unannounced  sampling events are                                                               
per  season.   He  explained  that the  two  monthly samples  for                                                               
maintaining USCG continuous discharge  certification are taken by                                                               
Admiralty Environmental under a schedule  that is proposed by the                                                               
vessel.    In  response  to further  question,  stated  that  the                                                               
penalty  for falsification  of  laboratory  data would  typically                                                               
involve a five-year prison term  and a substantial monetary fine.                                                               
He said  that the  EPA in  particular is  very strict  about this                                                               
kind of thing.                                                                                                                  
2:20:49 PM                                                                                                                    
LYNN  TOMICH KENT,  Director, Division  of  Water, Department  of                                                               
Environmental Conservation, began by  saying that the division is                                                               
preparing to implement the initiative  along with any refinements                                                               
to the  statute that the legislature  might make.  She  said that                                                               
the  four  changes  made  by  HB 164  are  probably  most  easily                                                               
described in  terms of  their fiscal impacts.   The  division has                                                               
submitted a fiscal note to  the committee with the starting point                                                               
for  the fiscal  note with  the  governor's fiscal  year (FY)  o8                                                               
amended  budget, as  suggested.   The proposed  legislation would                                                               
significantly reduce the  cost of the Ocean Ranger  Program.  She                                                               
explained that  the governor's  amended budget  was based  on two                                                               
ocean rangers  per vessel for coverage  24 hours a day,  7 days a                                                               
week.     The  division  estimates   that  the  total   cost  for                                                               
implementing the program under HB  164 is just over $800,000, and                                                               
the source of funds would remain the same.                                                                                      
2:23:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KENT drew  attention to  page 2  of the  fiscal note,  which                                                               
illustrates that  for the  program under HB  164 DEC  believes it                                                               
can reduce its staff from four to  two the cost of which would be                                                               
about  $170,000.   The  fiscal  note  also illustrates  that  the                                                               
travel  line  item  has  been  reduced  to  about  $8,000,  which                                                               
reflects the travel  costs for the DEC staff only,  not the ocean                                                               
rangers.  She then pointed out  that HB 164 is silent with regard                                                               
to  the length  of  time the  ocean ranger  will  be onboard  the                                                               
vessel and whether  they will travel with the  vessel.  Committee                                                               
staff has  indicated that the intent  is for the ocean  ranger to                                                               
only be onboard  while the vessel is in port  and thus the fiscal                                                               
note reflects that  the intent is that the ocean  ranger will not                                                               
travel with the vessel.   The division estimates that about seven                                                               
ocean  rangers will  be needed,  with one  based in  Southcentral                                                               
Alaska,  two in  Juneau, two  in  Ketchikan, and  two that  would                                                               
cover  the other  Southeast Alaska  port facilities.   Since  the                                                               
ocean rangers  will only  be onboard the  vessels while  in port,                                                               
the contractual funds for berthing  of the ocean rangers on board                                                               
the vessel are eliminated from the fiscal impacts.                                                                              
MS. KENT noted  that this legislation also focuses  the duties of                                                               
ocean rangers  on wastewater discharge  and pollution  issues and                                                               
ocean  rangers would  no  longer be  responsible  to ensure  that                                                               
passengers,  crew,  and  residents  at port  are  protected  from                                                               
improper sanitation,  health, and  safety practices.   Therefore,                                                               
the  narrower  scope and  fewer  ocean  rangers results  in  less                                                               
training  cost.    Furthermore,   contractual  funds  for  vessel                                                               
tracking  would be  eliminated since  HB 164  clarifies that  the                                                               
vessel tracking  information would  go directly from  the vessels                                                               
to the  U.S. Coast  Guard.   She noted  that although  the fiscal                                                               
note continues to  include some other contractual  items, some of                                                               
them have been  reduced.  Ms. Kent then drew  attention to page 1                                                               
of  the fiscal  note, which  requires DEC  to review  the current                                                               
fiscal year costs, which is a negative number.                                                                                  
2:27:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  related his  understanding that  an ocean                                                               
ranger could do  no more than two ships per  day.  However, there                                                               
can be up to  five ships moored in Juneau at one  time.  He asked                                                               
if [the other ships] would be handled by the mobile rangers.                                                                    
MS. KENT  explained that an ocean  ranger who is shore  based can                                                               
inspect two  to possibly three  vessels in a day,  depending upon                                                               
where  the vessels  are  located.   The  traveling ocean  rangers                                                               
could supplement  that on  a large  ship day as  well as  the DEC                                                               
program  lead.   In further  response to  Representative Johnson,                                                               
Ms. Kent related  her belief that five ships could  be handled in                                                               
Juneau  if  three  to four  are  tied  up  at  the dock  and  one                                                               
2:28:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DOOGAN  inquired  as  to what  the  Ocean  Ranger                                                               
Program under  HB 164 is doing  that is not being  done under the                                                               
current program.                                                                                                                
MS. KENT answered that under HB  164 the ocean rangers would have                                                               
a greater  presence as  they would be  onboard more  vessels than                                                               
occurs  under  the current  monitoring  program.   However,  they                                                               
would  review some  of the  very same  things that  are currently                                                               
reviewed  in  terms  of  the  analysis of  the  samples  and  the                                                               
discharge logs.                                                                                                                 
2:29:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN surmised  then that under HB  164 the ocean                                                               
rangers  would "essentially  be doing  over again  what's already                                                               
being done."  He asked if that was Ms. Kent's understanding.                                                                    
MS. KENT said they would perform similar work, just more of it.                                                                 
2:30:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN further surmised  that the existing program                                                               
that has been  in place for five years  would presumably continue                                                               
no matter  what happens  with the ocean  rangers.   He questioned                                                               
what the  Ocean Ranger  Program in  HB 164  adds to  the existing                                                               
MS. KENT explained that the  program that Mr. Wetzel described is                                                               
the sampling that's required by  the vessel owners and operators.                                                               
That  program  provides  two  per   month  sampling  as  well  as                                                               
independent and unannounced inspections  and sampling.  The Ocean                                                               
Ranger   Program  would   increase  the   level  of   independent                                                               
inspection and  oversight because ocean rangers  would be onboard                                                               
most vessels,  if not all, when  those vessels are in  port.  Ms.                                                               
Kent, in  further response  to Representative  Doogan, reiterated                                                               
that the  ocean rangers will  be performing very similar  work to                                                               
that  performed  by  Mr.  Wetzel's  program.    Therefore,  ocean                                                               
rangers can take independent sampling.                                                                                          
2:32:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON posed a situation  in which HB 164 doesn't                                                               
pass and  ocean rangers  are onboard  vessels all  the time.   He                                                               
inquired  as  to   what  those  ocean  rangers   would  be  doing                                                               
differently in such a situation  than under the existing program.                                                               
He mentioned  that having ocean  rangers onboard vessels  all the                                                               
time is more costly than [the existing program].                                                                                
MS.  KENT explained  that under  the current  statute, the  ocean                                                               
rangers would  review discharge and  pollution issues as  well as                                                               
health,  safety,  and  sanitation  issues under  both  state  and                                                               
federal regulations for passengers,  crew, and residents in port.                                                               
The  aforementioned  is a  much  broader  mandate than  specified                                                               
under HB 164.                                                                                                                   
2:32:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  JOHANSEN mentioned  the  very  detailed federal  oversight                                                               
2:33:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN clarified  that his concern is  what HB 164                                                               
does or  doesn't add  to the  existing program.   He  pointed out                                                               
that the  plain language  of the law  doesn't say  anything about                                                               
ocean rangers  conducting any tests  on their own,  and therefore                                                               
he said he  understood that ocean rangers wouldn't  be doing what                                                               
Mr. Wetzel and his staff are doing.                                                                                             
MS. KENT said that there  are some redundancies with the existing                                                               
programs  that would  be  imposed  by the  statutes  as they  are                                                               
2:34:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  related his  understanding that  there is                                                               
actually someone  on board performing  the federal  oversight and                                                               
that the state is merely adding another individual.                                                                             
MS. KENT explained that the  onboard environmental officer who is                                                               
an   employee  of   the  cruise   ship   companies  has   onboard                                                               
environmental  responsibilities.   The  initiative  calls for  an                                                               
independent  observer  to  ensure   the  aforementioned  work  is                                                               
performed appropriately.                                                                                                        
2:35:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR JOHANSEN  asked if DEC  feels comfortable with  the program                                                               
in place prior to the initiative.                                                                                               
MS. KENT  said that DEC feels  that the existing program  is very                                                               
2:35:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR JOHANSEN, upon  determining no one else  wished to testify,                                                               
announced that HB 164 would be set aside.                                                                                       

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