Water Pollution:

EPA Controls Over Ballast Water at Trans-Alaska Pipeline Marine Terminal

RCED-87-118: Published: Jun 18, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO obtained information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) controls over pollutants that a pipeline company discharged into Valdez Bay, Alaska, at its ballast water treatment plant to determine: (1) why EPA has not issued the plant a new water discharge permit; and (2) whether EPA has effectively monitored and enforced the conditions of the existing permit.

GAO found that: (1) EPA did not issue a new permit in 1983 because of higher-priority work, staff limitations, and absence of funds to hire an expert permit writer; (2) EPA expects to issue a draft permit in 1987; (3) the company has operated under an extension of the less stringent old permit; (4) EPA monitored the company's permit and identified instances of noncompliance, but has not taken formal enforcement actions; and (5) since 1984, EPA has taken steps to enforce compliance with permit requirements, but has not finalized its investigation of allegations of other environmental problems. GAO believes that EPA needs to resolve environmental concerns surrounding the facility as soon as possible.

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