The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce has joined a growing number of organizations and municipalities across the state asking legislators and the governor to enable the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to determine the parameters for the cruise ship wastewater discharge permit.

“Standards for cruise ship wastewater discharge permits should be based on best available data and science,” stated the resolution passed by the chamber.

The chamber resolution comes in response to the Large Commercial Passenger Vessel Wastewater Discharge General Permit DEC released last year, as required under the cruise ship initiative voters passed in 2006. The permit includes additional standards for four parameters – ammonia, copper, nickel and zinc – that are much more stringent than standards imposed on coastal communities that discharge much larger volumes into Alaska waters.

The DEC recognized that the ships would have trouble meeting the standards and in a March 2008 press release stated:

“The majority of large cruise ships operating in Alaska have advanced wastewater treatment systems that produce a very high quality discharge – much higher, for example, than shore-based municipal sewage treatment systems. Even so, cruise ship discharges are expected to have trouble meeting water quality standards for … ammonia, copper, nickel and zinc.”

DEC postponed implementation of the stricter standards until the 2010 season.

A copy of the resolution is available on the chamber website,

The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, member-driven business organization with more than 1,300 members representing 75,000 employees.

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