Water Pollution:

Alyeska's Efforts to Comply With Reissued Ballast Water Treatment Permit

RCED-90-124: Published: May 8, 1990. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) reissued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for a company's treatment of ballast water in Alaska, focusing on: (1) how the new and old permits differed regarding effluent limits and other requirements; (2) the reasons for changes in the reissued permit; and (3) the company's initial efforts to comply with the reissued permit's limitations.

GAO found that: (1) the reissued permit more stringently limited discharged treated ballast water requirements; (2) the reissued permit more stringently limited hazardous and toxic pollutants, discharge flow rates, and aromatic carbons (BETX); (3) the reissued permit decreased metals monitoring; (4) factors that influenced the permit changes included data, technology standards, permit requirements, and public persuasion; (5) the company's treatment plant met all pollutant limits in the reissued permit except for BETX; (6) the company exceeded BETX summer limits by small amounts; (7) in order to meet the reissued permit's BETX winter limit, the company needed to construct expanded treatment facilities by fall 1991; (8) the company's expanded treatment facilities should address instances where the company exceeded summer limits; (9) EPA changed several reporting requirements; and (10) company, state, and EPA officials were near a settlement on a modified permit.

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