Archived Reports

ADEC Science Panel

Science Panel


The ADEC science panel held a teleconference on July 26, 2012.  The meeting was intended to cover the industry wastewater treatment surveys recently received, the status of the Best Available Technology (BAT) review, and the status and timeline of the final report.

Most of the meeting was spent discussing the survey responses received from the industry.  The surveys covered current wastewater treatment, prevention, and control efforts including the effectiveness and the cost of those efforts.  Responses were received from 17 ships.  The facilitator of the meeting walked through one of the responses (MS Westerdam) to highlight the type of information that was provided.  ADEC and the facilitator indicated numerous times how much information was received and how pleased they were with the detail.  The panel members definitely reflected the positive sentiment as well.

The panel discussed information such as operations and maintenance costs of the current systems, how the regulations impact itineraries, whether upgrades were being planned, and ratios of black and gray water.  The discussion was fairly technical and was a lot for the panel to digest, but overall ADEC and the panel felt the detail would be very helpful in finalizing the report.  ADEC staff also made a comment about the information assisting the development of the 2013 permit.

ADEC indicated that they intend to look at the operation and maintenance costs and will calculate the Net Present Value (NPV) as part of their economic feasibility analysis.  They highlighted a chart showing the influent and effluent of each system and concluded that no ships treating black and gray water were able to meet Alaska Water Quality Standards (AWQS) at the point of discharge.  They further suggested that there was no benefit of calculating the NPV if they did not have technology that was proven to meet AWQS on a ship.

Several panel members would like to highlight technology they feel has potential to meet AWQS.  ADEC and the facilitator indicated the draft report already discusses various technologies but if something is not proven to be effective, they could not really consider it as a best available technology.  There will likely be more discussion on this and several panel members seem to want to recommend industry action (some level of improvement).  However, the majority of the panel, and ADEC, seem comfortable with the information presented which indicated that no additional treatment, prevention, or control method would result in an ability to meet AWQS.  The only exception was to the issue of discharging wastewater to shore.  Lincoln Loehr pointed out that even with shore discharges, the ships would not be able to meet AWQS, they would simply be meeting the standards in their, and the municipal, permits.  They also added that even if offloading wastewater passed the BAT test, it would still need to be evaluated by the panel to determine if there was an environmental benefit.

The final topic was the status of the report and the Panel’s timeline going forward.  The facilitator indicated that much of the report needs to be edited.  They intended to have the panel members edit the report in the days following the teleconference.  We have been working with Lincoln on a number of edits that will be added prior to the next version being released.

The Science Panel’s schedule is listed below:

August 10 – deadline to get next round of edits back from the panel

September 5 – send panel draft report

September 19 – Panel meeting to finalize preliminary draft report (meeting will be held in Juneau)

September 20 – ADEC technology workshop (basically presenting the draft report to public)

September 21 – Panel meeting to make final changes based upon public comments and approve report to Commissioner



The ADEC Science Panel held a teleconference on May 23, 2012.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the status of the report and specifically, how the panel will approach their task of evaluating economically feasible and technologically effective treatment methods.

The topic generated more panel member discussion than other recent meetings.  While the panel did not resolve any final approach for the report sections addressing the evaluation of “other” technology, they did recognize that the majority of what can be done to improve the discharge quality has been done.  Several members expressed the position that spending much more to achieve only minor improvements would not be economically feasible or technologically effective.  Lincoln Loehr continued to stress the lack of environmental benefit of requiring system changes.  Many others agreed.

There is still a significant amount of work to do in editing the science panel report.  The concepts are generally there, but how they present the information and the data used to support their conclusions need improving.  We are working with Lincoln to submit edits as the panel works through the various sections.

The next panel meeting should be confirmed soon but at this time, is planned for mid-July.

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