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EPA Reissues Water Discharge Permit for Valdez Marine Terminal Ballast Water Treatment Facility

Release Date: 6/15/2004
Contact Information: Mike Lidgard
(206) 553-1755

June 15, 2004

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has reissued the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company National Pollution Elimination NPDES Permit for the Ballast Water Treatment Facility at the Valdez Marine Terminal The facility’s primary function is to treat petroleum-contaminated ballast water from tankers shipping oil from the terminal. EPA is required by the Clean Water Act to examine the company's process and re-issue the permit every five years.

According to Mike Gearheard, Director of EPA's regional water quality office, after careful analysis EPA concluded that the permit continues to meet Clean Water Act requirements.

"We're confident this reissued permit protects Alaska’s water quality," said EPA's Gearheard. "While the reissued permit has the same effluent limits, we’ve included some updates to the monitoring requirements and expanded our ability to track specific contaminants."

Gearheard further explained that effluent limits were not changed since they were found to provide continued protection of state water quality standards. To date, existing monitoring (required by the former permit) continues to show no adverse impacts in Port Valdez from the discharge.

Significant changes to the permit include:
  • Reduced effluent monitoring frequency for those parameters that have shown to have stable trends.
  • Addition of total recoverable oil and grease monitoring to track levels in the effluent.
  • Addition of a test to monitor the toxicity of the effluent.
  • EPA also added a requirement to use updated analytical methods for hydrocarbon analysis in the effluent samples and for monitoring of sediments in the Port.
  • The permit requires some adjustment to the location of environmental monitoring stations where sediment and benthic organism data in Port Valdez is collected.

EPA and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation considered including additional Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbon(PAH) monitoring in the final permit. But based on several key factors, including lack of EPA approved analytical techniques, the absence of water quality standards for many of the substances, and the low levels of PAH currently found in the receiving water (from a recently-completed study by the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council ), elected to not include that requirement.
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Contact: Mike Lidgard Mark MacIntyre
EPA/Seattle EPA/Seattle
206-553-1755 206-553-7302