Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

03/16/2009 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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01:15:14 PM Start
01:15:35 PM HB134
02:12:46 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 16, 2009                                                                                         
                           1:15 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Craig Johnson, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Mark Neuman, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Kurt Olson                                                                                                       
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 134                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the terms and conditions of commercial                                                                      
vessel permits for the discharge of graywater, treated sewage,                                                                  
and other waste water; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 134                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CRUISE SHIP WASTEWATER DISCHARGE PERMITS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) HARRIS                                                                                            
02/13/09       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/09       (H)       CRA, RES                                                                                               
02/17/09       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/17/09       (H)       Moved CSHB 134(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/17/09       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/18/09       (H)       CRA RPT CS(CRA) NT 5DP                                                                                 
02/18/09       (H)       DP: HARRIS, MILLETT, KELLER, HERRON,                                                                   
03/02/09       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/02/09       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/02/09       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/16/09       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LARRY HARTIG, Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:     During  hearing  on   HB  134,  answered                                                             
questions and provided information.                                                                                             
LYNN TOMICH KENT, Director                                                                                                      
Division of Water                                                                                                               
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:     During  hearing  on   HB  134,  answered                                                             
questions and provided information.                                                                                             
REINALDO GONZALEZ, Ph.D.                                                                                                        
Associate Environmental Engineer                                                                                                
Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company                                                                                           
Kansas City, MO                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:     During  hearing  on   HB  134,  answered                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:15:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MARK   NEUMAN  called  the  House   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at  1:15 p.m.  Representatives Neuman,                                                               
Johnson, Olson,  Edgmon, Guttenberg, Tuck, Kawasaki,  Seaton, and                                                               
Wilson were present at the call to order.                                                                                       
HB 134-CRUISE SHIP WASTEWATER DISCHARGE PERMITS                                                                               
1:15:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN announced  that the only order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL NO.  134,  "An  Act  relating  to the  terms  and                                                               
conditions  of commercial  vessel  permits for  the discharge  of                                                               
graywater, treated  sewage, and other waste  water; and providing                                                               
for  an  effective  date."     [Before  the  committee  was  CSHB
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  said the committee would  continue discussion of                                                               
Amendment 1  which was  offered by  Representative Seaton  at the                                                               
3/2/09 hearing, but not adopted.   He noted that discussions have                                                               
occurred  with Larry  Hartig, Commissioner  of the  Department of                                                               
Environmental Conservation  (DEC), and that for  the next hearing                                                               
the commissioner  has agreed to  come up with some  proposals for                                                               
the technology-forcing aspect of HB 134.                                                                                        
1:17:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON commented that  the compliance date is fast                                                               
approaching and  something needs  to be done  to ensure  there is                                                               
progress toward  water quality.   The point of his  amendments is                                                               
to keep the  state moving in that direction  while still allowing                                                               
the industry to function.  He  said he would like to offer either                                                               
an amendment  to Amendment 1  or a substitute amendment  in order                                                               
to make it available for public review.                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  responded  that under  the  committee's  rules,                                                               
amendments must be given to members  at least 24 hours in advance                                                               
of  the hearing.   Exceptions  can  sometimes be  made for  small                                                               
amendments, but this is a five-page amendment, he said.                                                                         
1:19:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN read  a portion of a March 12,  2009, letter from                                                               
Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein [original punctuation provided]:                                                                  
     Furthermore,  I have  tried -  with  little success  to                                                                    
     date - to  engage the initiative sponsors  in a process                                                                    
     to sit down and develop  a fair way of distributing the                                                                    
     proceeds of the passenger fees  to benefit the ports of                                                                    
     call  actually   impacted  by   the  ships   and  their                                                                    
     passengers and crews.  I am still willing to do that.                                                                      
      I am not willing, however, to have them tell us what                                                                      
     ou[r] capital priorities should be.                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN said  it bothers him that all the  parties do not                                                               
appear to  be reaching out  to the communities that  are affected                                                               
by  this; however,  the communities  are talking  to legislators.                                                               
He  refused to  accept  Representative  Seaton's amendment  right                                                               
now, saying it is unfair to  communities that will be impacted to                                                               
not have a chance to review the amendment.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON noted  that he is trying to  have that same                                                               
conversation.   If  people are  talking about  an amendment  with                                                               
provisions  that  will  definitely  be  changed,  then  they  are                                                               
commenting on past  instead of current information.   He said his                                                               
revised amendment  will be posted  on his website and  is labeled                                                               
26-LS0570\E.3,  Bullard,  3/16/09,  should  the  public  wish  to                                                               
review it.  He agreed not to move his amendment.                                                                                
1:21:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN reiterated  that Amendment 1 was  not accepted at                                                               
the  time it  was offered  for discussion  and it  might be  more                                                               
appropriate to offer a substitute amendment.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON withdrew  Amendment 1  and moved  that the                                                               
committee  adopt  Amendment  2, labeled  26-LS0570\E.3,  Bullard,                                                               
3/16/09, which read as follows:                                                                                                 
     Page 1, line 2:                                                                                                            
          Delete "waste water;"                                                                                               
          Insert "wastewater; relating to wastewater,                                                                         
     sewage, and treatment  projects in certain communities,                                                                  
     including  shore-based wastewater  treatment facilities                                                                  
     that serve  commercial passenger vessels;  and relating                                                                  
     to the regional cruise ship impact fund;"                                                                                
     Page 1, following line 4:                                                                                                  
          Insert new bill sections to read:                                                                                     
        "* Section 1. AS 43.52.230(a) is amended to read:                                                                   
          (a)  The proceeds from the tax on travel on                                                                           
     commercial   passenger   vessels  providing   overnight                                                                    
     accommodations  in the  state's marine  water shall  be                                                                    
     deposited in a special  ["] commercial vessel passenger                                                                    
     tax account  ["] in the  general fund.  The legislature                                                                    
     may  appropriate  money  from   this  account  for  the                                                                    
     purposes  described in  (b)  - (d)  [AND  (c)] of  this                                                                
     section,  for state-owned  port and  harbor facilities,                                                                    
     other  services  to  properly  provide  for  vessel  or                                                                    
     watercraft   visits,   to   enhance  the   safety   and                                                                    
     efficiency  of  interstate  and foreign  commerce,  and                                                                    
     [SUCH]  other  lawful  purposes as  determined  by  the                                                                    
        * Sec.  2. AS 43.52.230 is  amended by adding  a new                                                                  
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
          (d)  The legislature may appropriate money                                                                            
     deposited into the regional cruise  ship impact fund to                                                                    
     the  Department   of  Environmental   Conservation  for                                                                    
     planning,      designing,     building,      modifying,                                                                    
     constructing, or  rehabilitating wastewater  and sewage                                                                    
     systems and treatment works in  a port of call in which                                                                    
     commercial passenger vessels  load or unload passengers                                                                    
     to   ensure  that   treated  wastewater   generated  by                                                                    
     commercial  passenger   vessels,  when   combined  with                                                                    
     untreated sewage, treated  sewage, graywater, and other                                                                    
     wastewater   generated  by   the   community,  is   not                                                                    
     discharged  in a  manner that  violates any  applicable                                                                    
     effluent  limits or  standards under  state or  federal                                                                    
     law,   including   Alaska   Water   Quality   Standards                                                                    
     governing pollution at the point of discharge."                                                                            
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
     Page 1, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "The"                                                                                                          
          Insert "Except as provided under AS 46.03.464(a),                                                                 
     the [THE]"                                                                                                             
     Page 1, line 11:                                                                                                           
          Delete "[AT THE POINT OF DISCHARGE]"                                                                                  
          Insert "at the point of discharge"                                                                                    
     Page 2, line 9:                                                                                                            
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "* Sec. 4. AS 46.03.462(b), as  amended by sec. 3 of                                                                
     this Act, is amended to read:                                                                                              
          (b)       The    [EXCEPT    AS   PROVIDED    UNDER                                                                
     AS 46.03.464(a),  THE]   minimum  standard   terms  and                                                                    
     conditions for  all discharge permits  authorized under                                                                    
     this section require that the owner or operator                                                                            
               (1)  may not discharge untreated sewage,                                                                         
     treated sewage,  graywater, or  other wastewaters  in a                                                                    
     manner that violates any  applicable effluent limits or                                                                    
     standards under state or  federal law, including Alaska                                                                    
     Water  Quality  Standards  governing pollution  at  the                                                                    
     point of discharge;                                                                                                        
               (2)  shall maintain records and provide the                                                                      
     reports required under AS 46.03.465(a);                                                                                    
               (3)  shall collect and test samples as                                                                           
     required under AS 46.03.465(b) and  (d) and provide the                                                                    
     reports   with  respect   those  samples   required  by                                                                    
     AS 46.03.475(c);                                                                                                           
               (4)  shall report discharges in accordance                                                                       
     with AS 46.03.475(a);                                                                                                      
               (5)  shall allow the department access to                                                                        
     the  vessel  at  the  time   samples  are  taken  under                                                                    
     AS 46.03.465 for purposes of  taking the samples or for                                                                    
     purposes  of verifying  the integrity  of the  sampling                                                                    
     process; and                                                                                                               
               (6)    shall  submit  records,  notices,  and                                                                    
     reports   to   the   department  in   accordance   with                                                                    
     AS 46.03.475(b), (d), and (e).                                                                                             
        *  Sec.  5. AS 46.03  is  amended  by adding  a  new                                                                  
     section to read:                                                                                                           
          Sec. 46.03.464. Shore-based wastewater treatment                                                                    
     facilities.  (a)   Notwithstanding  AS 46.03.462(b)(1),                                                                  
     the  Department   of  Environmental   Conservation  may                                                                    
     provide an  annual waiver from  the point  of discharge                                                                    
     requirement   imposed  under   that  paragraph   for  a                                                                    
     discharge  of  treated  wastewater  from  a  commercial                                                                    
     passenger  vessel   that  is  capable   of  discharging                                                                    
     treated   wastewater   to  a   shore-based   wastewater                                                                    
     treatment  facility. The  waiver  may  be extended  for                                                                    
     additional one-year periods  through December 31, 2013,                                                                    
               (1)   the commissioner certifies that  one or                                                                    
     more  shore-based wastewater  treatment facilities  are                                                                    
     operational  or in  the process  of being  constructed;                                                                    
               (2)   as  a condition  of  the waiver,  while                                                                    
     present in a community  with an operational shore-based                                                                    
     wastewater  treatment   facility  to  load   or  unload                                                                    
     passengers, the vessel                                                                                                     
               (A)   discharges  its  treated wastewater  to                                                                    
     the facility; or                                                                                                           
               (B)   complies with the terms  and conditions                                                                    
     of   AS 46.03.462(b)(1),  notwithstanding   the  waiver                                                                    
     provided under this section.                                                                                               
          (b)  An annual waiver granted under (a) of this                                                                       
     section may  be extended  after December 31,  2013, for                                                                    
     additional one-year periods if                                                                                             
               (1)    the commissioner,  after  consultation                                                                    
     with representatives  of the  cruise ship  industry and                                                                    
     communities in which  commercial passenger vessels load                                                                    
     or unload passengers,  certifies that additional shore-                                                                    
     based wastewater treatment facilities are                                                                                  
               (A)  necessary; and                                                                                              
               (B)   in the process of  being constructed or                                                                    
     operated; and                                                                                                              
               (2)   as  a condition  of  the waiver,  while                                                                    
     present in a community  with an operational shore-based                                                                    
     wastewater  treatment   facility  to  load   or  unload                                                                    
     passengers, the vessel                                                                                                     
               (A)  discharges its treated wastewater to                                                                        
     the facility;                                                                                                              
               (B)  complies with the terms and conditions                                                                      
     of   AS 46.03.462(b)(1),  notwithstanding   the  waiver                                                                    
     provided under this section.                                                                                               
          (c)  In this section, "shore-based wastewater                                                                         
     treatment  facility"   means  a   wastewater  treatment                                                                    
     facility  located in  a community  in which  commercial                                                                    
     passenger vessels load or unload passengers that                                                                           
               (1)  does not violate any applicable                                                                             
     effluent  limits or  standards under  state or  federal                                                                    
     law,   including   Alaska   Water   Quality   Standards                                                                    
     governing pollution at the point of discharge; and                                                                         
               (2)  is capable of receiving discharges of                                                                       
     treated wastewater from commercial passenger vessels.                                                                      
        * Sec. 6. AS 46.03.464 is repealed.                                                                                 
        *  Sec. 7.  TRANSITION: REGULATIONS.  The Department                                                                  
     of  Environmental  Conservation  may proceed  to  adopt                                                                    
     regulations  to  implement its  responsibilities  under                                                                    
     this Act.  The regulations  take effect  under AS 44.62                                                                    
     (Administrative  Procedure  Act),  but not  before  the                                                                    
     effective  date  of  the statutes  implemented  by  the                                                                    
        * Sec. 8. The uncodified  law of the State of Alaska                                                                  
     is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                                
          NOTICE.    If   the    excise    tax   is    found                                                                    
     unconstitutional  as described  in  sec.  9(1) of  this                                                                    
     Act,  the attorney  general shall  promptly notify  the                                                                    
     revisor of statutes,  the commissioner of environmental                                                                    
     conservation, and  the commissioner  of revenue  of the                                                                    
     date that the excise tax was found unconstitutional.                                                                       
        * Sec. 9.  Sections 4 and 6 of this  Act take effect                                                                  
     on the earliest date of the following:                                                                                     
               (1)  a court of competent jurisdiction                                                                           
     enters  a  final judgment  on  the  merits that  is  no                                                                    
     longer  subject to  appeal or  petition for  certiorari                                                                    
     holding  that the  excise tax  levied on  travel aboard                                                                    
     commercial  passenger  vessels  under  AS 43.52.200  is                                                                    
               (2)  AS 43.52.200 is repealed; or                                                                                
               (3)  December 31, 2016.                                                                                          
        * Sec. 10. Sections 3 and  5 of this Act take effect                                                                  
     January 1, 2010.                                                                                                           
        * Sec. 11.  Except as provided in secs. 9  and 10 of                                                                  
     this  Act,  this  Act takes  effect  immediately  under                                                                    
     AS 01.10.070(c)."                                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON objected to Amendment 2.                                                                                       
1:24:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON moved that Amendment  2 be tabled to provide the                                                               
public with time to review it  and members the time to discuss it                                                               
and work through any problems by the next committee meeting.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  agreed.    He  said he  wants  to  ensure  that                                                               
Commissioner Hartig has  the time to work on a  solution that the                                                               
commissioner feels  will meet the  goals of the 2006  Cruise Ship                                                               
Initiative ("the initiative").  He  offered his opinion that DEC,                                                               
as the regulating authority on this issue, should take the lead.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG requested  that committee  members and                                                               
the public be given  24 hours to look at Amendment  2, as well as                                                               
any new  amendment that may  come back from  Commissioner Hartig.                                                               
He  said he  would  appreciate  being able  to  walk through  the                                                               
amendment and  talk to regulators at  DEC and beyond, as  well as                                                               
the sponsors of HB 134 and the initiative sponsors.                                                                             
1:27:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN requested an explanation of mixing zones.                                                                       
LARRY   HARTIG,   Commissioner,   Department   of   Environmental                                                               
Conservation, deferred to Lynn Kent.                                                                                            
LYNN  TOMICH KENT,  Director, Division  of  Water, Department  of                                                               
Environmental Conservation,  explained that DEC first  sets Water                                                               
Quality  Standards  under  which   specific  numeric  limits  are                                                               
established  for each  type  of contaminant.    These limits  are                                                               
designed to  protect a use  of a  waterbody, she continued.   For                                                               
example, DEC sets a numeric limit  for copper that is designed to                                                               
protect  human health  for drinking  water purposes.   A  numeric                                                               
limit for copper is also set  for the protection of aquatic life.                                                               
The aquatic life standard is  more stringent because aquatic life                                                               
is  more  sensitive  to  copper  than  are  humans.    Wastewater                                                               
discharge  permits  are based  on  the  most stringent  criteria,                                                               
which for copper is the criteria for aquatic life.                                                                              
1:29:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KENT noted  that even  with the  best treatment  technology,                                                               
treated  wastewater  discharge  may  still  have  low  levels  of                                                               
pollutants.  A  mixing zone is the area  where treated wastewater                                                               
is  allowed by  DEC permit  to mix  with the  waterbody.   Mixing                                                               
zones are  only authorized in  the context  of a permit,  and all                                                               
DEC permits go through a  public comment period.  The regulations                                                               
that  DEC has  to consider  when  authorizing a  mixing zone  are                                                               
designed to  protect aquatic life,  among many other  things, she                                                               
said.   To  authorize  a  mixing zone,  DEC  must  make about  19                                                               
different findings via its regulations.                                                                                         
MS.  KENT  explained  that  under the  first  finding,  DEC  must                                                               
"ensure  that the  effluent  is treated  to  remove, reduce,  and                                                               
disperse  pollutants using  the  most effective,  technologically                                                               
and  economically   feasible  methods,  and  at   a  minimum  are                                                               
consistent    with    statutory    and    regulatory    treatment                                                               
requirements."   Other  requirements that  must be  met before  a                                                               
permit can  be authorized  include ensuring  that a  mixing zone:                                                               
is  as  small  as  practicable;   will  not  impair  the  overall                                                               
biological integrity of  a waterbody; will not  preclude or limit                                                               
established   processing   activities  and   commercial,   sport,                                                               
personal use  or subsistence  fisheries; will  not result  in any                                                               
reduction  in  fish  or shellfish  population  levels;  will  not                                                               
affect endangered or threatened species,  will not form a barrier                                                               
to  migratory  species,  and will  not  contain  bio-accumulative                                                               
1:31:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KENT called  attention to  the division's  fact sheet  about                                                               
mixing zones  provided in the  committee packets.  She  said that                                                               
for shore-based  seafood processing facilities operating  under a                                                               
general permit, the mixing zone  is for "residues, dissolved gas,                                                               
oil and  grease, pH, color, turbidity,  fecal coliform, chlorine,                                                               
and temperature."    This permit defines a mixing  zone in marine                                                               
waters as a  "cylindrical volume with a horizontal  radius of 100                                                               
feet  from the  diffuser and  the full  depth of  the waterbody."                                                               
She pointed out that all of  the Water Quality Standards that the                                                               
mixing zone  is authorized for  must be met  at the edge  of that                                                               
mixing zone.                                                                                                                    
MS. KENT discussed the mixing  zone for the Mendenhall Wastewater                                                               
Treatment Plant  in Juneau which discharges  municipal wastewater                                                               
into the  Mendenhall River.   She  said this  mixing zone  is for                                                               
"fecal  coliform, dissolved  oxygen, pH,  metals, and  nutrients.                                                               
The  mixing  zone  is  defined  as an  area  within  a  rectangle                                                               
centered  over  the  diffuser  with  a width  of  30  meters  and                                                               
extending  both upstream  and downstream  for a  distance of  150                                                               
meters and for  the full depth of the river.   She explained that                                                               
the diffuser  is the  end of  the pipe and  the distance  is both                                                               
upstream  and downstream  because  the Mendenhall  is a  tidally-                                                               
influenced river.   The  mixing zone provides  for a  dilution of                                                               
10:1, she added.                                                                                                                
1:33:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON understood that  at the Mendenhall facility                                                               
the Water  Quality Standards for wastewater  discharge would have                                                               
to be met at a dilution of up to 10:1.                                                                                          
MS. KENT  answered that the  Water Quality Standards must  be met                                                               
by 150  meters both  upstream and  downstream of  the end  of the                                                               
pipe, depending  on the  tidal stage.   In further  response, she                                                               
said it is correct that the design is for a 10:1 dilution.                                                                      
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN asked what the ratio is for a cruise ship.                                                                      
MS. KENT replied that for a  cruise ship underway it is 50,000:1.                                                               
She said  this very high dilution  rate is because the  vessel is                                                               
moving and  there is  a lot  of turbulence  so the  mixing occurs                                                               
almost instantaneously.                                                                                                         
1:35:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON calculated  that  the  dilution ratio  for                                                               
cruise  ships is  therefore 5,000  times that  of the  Mendenhall                                                               
treatment plant.   He asked if  this means that cruise  ships can                                                               
discharge 5,000 times more copper from the end of the pipe.                                                                     
MS. KENT responded that DEC's  anti-degradation policy and mixing                                                               
zone  regulations do  not allow  the department  to let  a cruise                                                               
ship reduce the level of  treatment that it is already achieving.                                                               
Therefore, even  if mixing  zones are  allowed for  cruise ships,                                                               
DEC could  not allow any  backsliding and the cruise  ships would                                                               
still  have to  meet the  highest treatment  technology available                                                               
1:36:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON asked  whether all of the  cruise ships are                                                               
under  the  50,000:1  requirement  or are  some  doing  something                                                               
MS. KENT explained  that that is the dilution  DEC has calculated                                                               
doing  dilution studies.   The  wastewater discharge  permit that                                                               
cruise  ships  are currently  operating  under  has both  interim                                                               
limits and long-term limits that take  effect in 2010.  The long-                                                               
term limits  are based on  meeting the Water Quality  Standard at                                                               
the point of discharge.  The  interim limits are based on roughly                                                               
what  the cruise  ships are  able to  obtain today.   In  further                                                               
response,  Ms.  Kent  reported  that the  cruise  ships  are  not                                                               
meeting the long-term  effluent limits right now.   The ships are                                                               
using  a variety  of advanced  wastewater treatment  systems that                                                               
all produce  a pretty high level  of treatment on the  water, but                                                               
none of them achieve the  end-of-the-pipe Water Quality Standards                                                               
for all parameters at all times.                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  commented that  the discussion  is in  regard to                                                               
end  of  pipe  and  allowing  DEC to  use  mixing  zones,  as  is                                                               
typically done.                                                                                                                 
MS. KENT agreed.  She said  HB 134 as originally introduced would                                                               
delete the language  "at the point of discharge"  and would allow                                                               
DEC,  under certain  circumstances,  to  authorize mixing  zones.                                                               
The  department   could  not  allow  the   vessels  to  discharge                                                               
concentrations  of contaminants  that are  higher than  what they                                                               
are discharging now, but it  would give some flexibility on where                                                               
DEC measures compliance for those discharges.                                                                                   
1:39:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  inquired what  the copper standards  are for                                                               
drinking water versus aquatic life.                                                                                             
MS. KENT answered that she did  look up the various levels as per                                                               
Representative Tuck's  question at  a prior hearing,  however she                                                               
said she  did not  look up the  drinking water  standards because                                                               
marine  waters are  not  protected for  drinking  water, and  the                                                               
cruise ships all discharge to marine rather than fresh water.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  said he  is asking  about copper  because he                                                               
understands that some  cruise ships are taking  on drinking water                                                               
that contains  more copper than  is allowed for  marine discharge                                                               
and he  is curious as to  what the difference is  between the two                                                               
MS. KENT  stated that the  Water Quality Standard for  copper for                                                               
protection of  aquatic life is significantly  more stringent than                                                               
it is for protection of human health in drinking water.                                                                         
1:41:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked  whether DEC would use  the same mixing                                                               
zone  standards  for  all  ships   regardless  of  the  different                                                               
technologies onboard the different ships.                                                                                       
MS. KENT  replied that the  mixing zones  are based on  the Water                                                               
Quality Standards  and what is  happening in the  waterbody, more                                                               
so  than  they are  based  on  the  type  of technology  that  is                                                               
available on  the vessel.   In all  other instances,  DEC's Water                                                               
Quality  Standards  and  mixing  zone regulations  apply  to  the                                                               
impact  on the  waterbody as  opposed to  who the  discharger is.                                                               
Cruise ships  are the only  place where  the law requires  DEC to                                                               
look directly at the type of discharger.                                                                                        
1:42:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  inquired  whether  the  mixing  zone  would                                                               
change depending on what waterbody the cruise ship is in.                                                                       
MS.  KENT  responded,  "Absolutely."     It  is  clear  from  the                                                               
department's dilution  studies to date  that the mixing  zone for                                                               
an underway  vessel with an advanced  wastewater treatment system                                                               
is so  small as  to be  almost immeasurable.   However,  a mixing                                                               
zone could be  denied in instances where the discharge  is into a                                                               
protected waterbody without a lot  of flow.  In further response,                                                               
Ms. Kent said DEC is focused  on the impacts to the waterbody, so                                                               
authorization  of a  mixing zone  by DEC  would be  based on  the                                                               
characteristics  of the  waterbody, the  flow, the  effluent, the                                                               
tidal stages, and so forth.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked whether  most ships in Alaska discharge                                                               
continually or do  they have holding tanks so  they can discharge                                                               
where need be.                                                                                                                  
MS.  KENT explained  that  some vessels  have  the capability  of                                                               
holding while  in Alaska  waters without  having to  change their                                                               
itineraries, while some probably cannot do this.                                                                                
1:44:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  inquired how Commissioner Hartig  plans to                                                               
provide for  ongoing improvement of technology  and moving toward                                                               
better Water Quality Standards.                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN offered his belief  that the commissioner is held                                                               
to this standard by statute.                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  said the administration recognizes  that the                                                               
people who voted  for the initiative wanted to raise  the bar for                                                               
cruise  ship discharge,  but the  bar  may have  been raised  too                                                               
high.    Research of  the  technology  and discussions  with  the                                                               
industry  and treatment  system  vendors,  indicates a  consensus                                                               
that the cruise  ships cannot meet all water  quality criteria in                                                               
the pipe.   So the question is  where the bar can be  set.  There                                                               
is a  lack of science,  engineering, and economic  information as                                                               
to where to set that bar and how  long it will take to get there.                                                               
The department  is looking at  how to gather this  information to                                                               
make  good judgment  on where  technology-forcing is  appropriate                                                               
and how it is done under what terms.                                                                                            
COMMISSIONER HARTIG further stated that  DEC is looking at how to                                                               
raise the bar  as directed by the initiative  without driving the                                                               
cruise  industry out  of the  state.   The technology  conference                                                               
would  have found  the "silver  bullet" if  there was  one to  be                                                               
found, so getting there  will have to be done in  steps.  He said                                                               
he sees the  focus of discussions with the sponsor  and others as                                                               
being an exploration of options.   Perhaps it is too broad to say                                                               
that  DEC  is  taking  the  lead on  this,  he  continued.    The                                                               
department is offering to engage itself  to try to add an element                                                               
to  HB 134  that is  more  in line  with the  expectation of  the                                                               
initiative, and that is some element of technology-forcing.                                                                     
1:48:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN said  he asked the commissioner  to somewhat take                                                               
the lead  on this  because of  the commissioner's  statement that                                                               
the bar set by the initiative is not achievable.                                                                                
Commissioner  Hartig  clarified  that  he said  the  bar  is  not                                                               
achievable at this time.                                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  recounted that Representative  Harris introduced                                                               
a  bill  that   he  thought  would  solve  this   problem.    Now                                                               
Representative Seaton  wants to impose regulations  on land-based                                                               
wastewater  treatment plants  in communities  across Alaska.   He                                                               
said  he  thinks  Representative  Seaton's  amendment  should  be                                                               
brought  forward  as  a  separate  bill  because  it  deals  with                                                               
communities while  the initiative  deals with  cruise ships.   He                                                               
asked  whether Commissioner  Hartig  thinks DEC  can ensure  that                                                               
Alaska's waters stay clean.                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG answered  yes, that  is DEC's  intent.   The                                                               
department believes  that with the  regulatory tools it  has, any                                                               
authorized mixing  zone, whether  for cruise  ships or  any other                                                               
industry,  will have  to meet  a high  standard.   The department                                                               
goes over  the 19 criteria  mentioned by Ms. Kent  carefully, and                                                               
will not sacrifice Alaska's water quality for any industry.                                                                     
1:50:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN noted  that Ms. Kent also said  DEC is continuing                                                               
to upgrade  its regulations to  make sure that the  most advanced                                                               
technology is used by all industries working within Alaska.                                                                     
COMMISSIONER   HARTIG   said   the   anti-degradation   provision                                                               
mentioned by  Ms. Kent applies  to any  permit whether or  not it                                                               
has mixing  zones.  If  a mixing zone  is authorized, there  is a                                                               
separate requirement  that treatment  be done  by using  the most                                                               
efficient  technology  currently  available.    Both  regulations                                                               
require waste reduction prior to  treatment.  The department does                                                               
not at  this point have  provisions that look beyond  the current                                                               
horizon;  however, that  is an  element of  the initiative.   The                                                               
February 2009 technology conference found  that there may be some                                                               
technologies down the  road, although it is unknown how  far.  He                                                               
said he  would be looking  at how  DEC should go  about exploring                                                               
the science and engineering questions  so the department can firm                                                               
up its understanding of when  these might occur and encourage the                                                               
technologies that would make sense in Alaska.                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN said  he hopes  Commissioner  Hartig will  bring                                                               
these back to members.                                                                                                          
1:51:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON commented that  she is concerned about fish                                                               
as well  as human health  because fishing  is the main  source of                                                               
income for  most of her constituents.   She asked what  the exact                                                               
numbers are for how high copper can go before affecting fish.                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG clarified  that  Ms. Kent  was talking  only                                                               
about  the copper  standard.   It  is not  always  true that  the                                                               
standard is  stricter for  aquatic life than  it is  for drinking                                                               
water.  Sometimes  it is the other way, he  explained.  There are                                                               
different standards set for each  contaminant.  Science is always                                                               
advancing the knowledge  about what the effects may  be on humans                                                               
or aquatic life.   The department's regulations are  based on the                                                               
federal Clean Water Act which  requires a review of the standards                                                               
every  three years.    During this  review,  DEC solicits  public                                                               
review, looks at what other states  are doing, and talks to other                                                               
Alaska  agencies  as well  as  federal  agencies.   He  said  the                                                               
Environmental  Protection Agency  (EPA) provides  guidance as  to                                                               
what  new  science the  state  should  look  at.   Based  on  new                                                               
information, DEC determines what  regulations need to be updated.                                                               
Updating is therefore a constant process.                                                                                       
1:53:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  inquired whether it is  the technology                                                               
or the engineering that is not yet there.                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER HARTIG deferred to Ms. Kent.                                                                                       
MS.  KENT  replied  that  one  of the  things  learned  at  DEC's                                                               
February 2009  technology conference was that  there is certainly                                                               
technology available that will treat  wastewater to meet Alaska's                                                               
Water Quality Standards at the point  of discharge.  But what was                                                               
also learned  is that  sizing it  and conducting  the engineering                                                               
necessary to put  it onboard the confined space of  a cruise ship                                                               
is the challenge and will take a bit of time.                                                                                   
1:55:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  asked whether  there  is  enough data  to                                                               
provide an  understanding about the cumulative  effects of copper                                                               
and the other  pollutants on the marine  environment where cruise                                                               
ships operate.                                                                                                                  
COMMISSIONER HARTIG deferred to Ms. Kent.                                                                                       
MS. KENT responded  that DEC has looked at  dilution studies done                                                               
by the  EPA on moving vessels  and has conducted its  own studies                                                               
on stationary vessels.  For  moving vessels the dilution ratio is                                                               
very high  and it is  virtually impossible to monitor  for cruise                                                               
ship waste  behind the vessel when  it is underway.   Last summer                                                               
the department  collected field data  to calculate  dilution that                                                               
might occur  under a worst  case scenario.  Skagway  was selected                                                               
for this  because the cruise  ships are  in a confined  area with                                                               
very limited flushing.   Even in this worst  case scenario, under                                                               
some  of  the assumptions  made  about  the data  Alaska's  Water                                                               
Quality Standards would be met  within 15 meters of a discharging                                                               
vessel.   Using other assumptions, specifically  the very highest                                                               
values that have been recorded in  the last year from cruise ship                                                               
discharges, it would take greater  than 15 meters from the vessel                                                               
to meet Alaska's  Water Quality Standards.  She said  that if DEC                                                               
had the ability  to authorize mixing zones for  cruise ships, the                                                               
department  would be  looking at  very  specific waterbodies  and                                                               
situations where a  mixing zone would not have  a negative impact                                                               
on the water quality.                                                                                                           
1:58:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   EDGMON  surmised   that  determination   of  the                                                               
cumulative impacts is still a work in progress.                                                                                 
MS. KENT said DEC  does not think there is a  problem in terms of                                                               
cumulative impacts from vessels that are underway.                                                                              
MS. KENT, in  response to Co-Chair Neuman, confirmed  that from a                                                               
discharge perspective  of ships underway, there  is no cumulative                                                               
impact of contaminants.                                                                                                         
1:58:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  inquired whether a  glass of Juneau's  tap water                                                               
poured overboard would meet the point-of-discharge requirements.                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG deferred to Ms. Kent.                                                                                       
MS.  KENT answered  that she  does  not have  Juneau's data,  but                                                               
there are  points of call  where the bunkered water  delivered to                                                               
cruise ships is higher in  copper than the aquatic life criteria.                                                               
So,  if there  was  a mixing  zone authorized  for  the glass  of                                                               
water, there probably  would not be a problem  given the dilution                                                               
factor.    She  pointed  out that  all  of  Alaska's  shore-based                                                               
wastewater treatment facilities have  authorized mixing zones, so                                                               
if the drinking water source  exceeds the Water Quality Standards                                                               
in  the receiving  water, it  is usually  dealt with  through the                                                               
mixing zone or the treatment process.                                                                                           
2:00:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN asked  whether the answer to his  question is yes                                                               
or no.                                                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG  said  DEC  is  requiring  source  reduction                                                               
evaluations from the  cruise ship companies to  determine how the                                                               
ships can reduce  their intake of copper and  other pollutants of                                                               
concern.  Some  of the ships have looked at  where they get their                                                               
bunkered water because it can have  an impact.  Some of the ships                                                               
are looking  at switching out  the vessel's piping and  some have                                                               
already done  this.  Copper in  a community system can  be coming                                                               
from the  pipes and not the  water source, he added.   The amount                                                               
of copper  in the water  can depend on  where the water  is drawn                                                               
and the length of time that it has been in the pipes.                                                                           
2:01:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN maintained that the  source of copper is from the                                                               
bunkered  water supplied  by  the communities  and  not from  the                                                               
ships themselves.                                                                                                               
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG said  there  is something  to  that and  the                                                               
vessels are looking  into this as a means of  reducing the amount                                                               
of copper that they are discharging.                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN repeated  his question  about whether  dumping a                                                               
glass of Juneau drinking water  overboard would violate the Water                                                               
Quality Standards for point of discharge.                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG stated  that  he does  not  know what  those                                                               
water  quality  parameters are,  but  he  will  get them  to  the                                                               
committee so the question can be answered definitively.                                                                         
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN said the committee  has received information that                                                               
the drinking  water at most  of the  ports of call  would violate                                                               
the point-of-discharge requirements.                                                                                            
2:02:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  inquired whether  it was  DEC that  gave the                                                               
extensions to what  was originally passed by  the initiative and,                                                               
if so,  what were the conditions  that DEC did that.   He further                                                               
asked whether  it would be  possible for  DEC to extend  the time                                                               
for meeting the standards set by the initiative.                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  confirmed that  the 2010 deadline  came from                                                               
DEC.   The  initiative would  have required  the cruise  ships to                                                               
meet the  end-of-pipe standards much  earlier.  The  deadline was                                                               
extended because DEC  knew from the cruise  ships' discharge data                                                               
that they could  not meet that deadline and more  time was needed                                                               
to  find  the technology  or  do  source  reduction to  meet  the                                                               
standard.  The department has  statutory and regulatory authority                                                               
to put  compliance schedules in discharge  permits, he explained,                                                               
but when this is  done DEC must be able to  say that the schedule                                                               
will lead toward compliance and  has definitive steps for getting                                                               
there.    The  first  general  permit  issued  for  cruise  ships                                                               
included  a schedule  of two  years, which  was the  minimum time                                                               
that DEC thought  it would take to reach  Water Quality Standards                                                               
in the  pipe.   The steps  included in the  permit were  not well                                                               
defined  because DEC  itself did  not know  what the  steps were.                                                               
But  the  permit requires  the  cruise  ships to  provide  source                                                               
reduction  evaluations delineating  what is  in their  discharge,                                                               
where it is coming from, what  steps can be taken to reduce that,                                                               
and  the  progress that  has  been  made.    One purpose  of  the                                                               
February  2009 technology  conference  was to  learn whether  the                                                               
deadline needs  to be extended and,  if so, how far  does it need                                                               
to be  extended.  So, the  short answer is that  DEC could extend                                                               
the deadline, but there must be  a good statutory basis for doing                                                               
so and  it must show  that compliance  can be achieved  over time                                                               
and outline the  steps that will be used for  getting there - and                                                               
this is what DEC is still searching for.                                                                                        
2:05:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   WILSON  understood   that  the   technology  and                                                               
engineering are  available [for achieving  end-of-pipe standards]                                                               
on land, but that currently the  equipment is too large to put on                                                               
a vessel; so the hope is to  develop equipment that will fit on a                                                               
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  replied that this is  an over-simplification                                                               
as there are also energy requirements.  He deferred to Ms. Kent.                                                                
MS. KENT  deferred to DEC's contractors  and their subcontractors                                                               
who  conducted the  February 2009  technology conference  and are                                                               
familiar with the shore-based systems.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  interjected  that  he has  heard  that  another                                                               
problem is the prohibitive cost.                                                                                                
2:06:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  said her  question is why  the shore-based                                                               
technology cannot be used onboard ships.                                                                                        
REINALDO  GONZALEZ,  Ph.D.,   Associate  Environmental  Engineer,                                                               
Burns  &  McDonnell  Engineering   Company,  explained  that  his                                                               
company  provides  consulting  services   to  DEC  in  regard  to                                                               
technologies  available  on land  for  treatment  of ammonia  and                                                               
metals, the specific  metals being copper, zinc, and  nickel.  He                                                               
said his company has provided  its experience in treating ammonia                                                               
and  those metals  to  levels  close to  the  2010 standards  and                                                               
sometimes lower  than those.   However, his  company has  not had                                                               
any  experience  with  all  of  those combined.    Space  is  not                                                               
normally an issue for land-based  facilities, he pointed out, and                                                               
so it is very  challenging to fit or find a  way of bringing this                                                               
technology into a ship.   Not only is this due  to size, but also                                                               
because  the standards  for the  cruise  industry are  completely                                                               
different from  the standards  for land-based.   He said  that so                                                               
far  his company  does  not  know of  any  cruise  ship that  has                                                               
installations that  can comply with  all of these  standards when                                                               
all  of these  compounds  are  combined in  the  wastewater.   He                                                               
advised  that pilot  testing will  likely be  needed to  see what                                                               
will work.                                                                                                                      
2:09:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  asked whether the  "sub-account" money                                                               
flows into DEC or the general fund.                                                                                             
COMMISSIONER HARTIG responded that there  is the $4 per passenger                                                               
cruise ship tax that was there  before the initiative and some of                                                               
that money  currently funds DEC's  permitting program.   The sub-                                                               
account is  a potential  source for  funding activities  like the                                                               
February  2009 technology  conference, but  it is  different than                                                               
the $4 tax.                                                                                                                     
2:10:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON inquired  whether the  advanced wastewater                                                               
treatment plants on the cruise  ships in Alaska were installed as                                                               
a result  of the 2006  initiative, DEC  regulations, legislation,                                                               
or because the cruise ships wanted to.                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER HARTIG deferred to Ms.  Kent as this happened before                                                               
his time at DEC.                                                                                                                
MS. KENT said some of this  was before her involvement, but there                                                               
was a time  when there was significant public  interest in cruise                                                               
ships  and  discharges from  cruise  ships.   The  companies  met                                                               
voluntarily in  a work group with  DEC and members of  the public                                                               
to  look  at  the  cruise  ship discharges.    The  cruise  ships                                                               
voluntarily conducted  sampling to  determine the quality  of the                                                               
discharges.    In the  end,  the  cruise  ship industry  and  DEC                                                               
endorsed legislation  that became  the regulatory scheme  for the                                                               
initial DEC  regulations.   She said  there were  federal actions                                                               
occurring at about the same, but  she is unsure of the sequencing                                                               
for that.  So,  it was a voluntary effort by  the cruise ships to                                                               
significantly upgrade the treatment capabilities.                                                                               
2:12:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  commented that everyone working  together sounds                                                               
like a good way of doing business.                                                                                              
MS. KENT agreed.                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN held CSHB 134(CRA).  He requested Commissioner                                                                  
Hartig to work with the sponsor and the co-chair and come back                                                                  
with information.                                                                                                               
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:13 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 134 Letter from City of Ketchikan.pdf HRES 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 134
HB 134 3.16.09 Seaton Amend 2.pdf HRES 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 134
HB 134 Letter from City of Seward.pdf HRES 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 134
HB 134 Letter to Governor.pdf HRES 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 134
HB 134 Water Quality Standards.pdf HRES 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 134