State takeover of wastewater discharge complete

Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation is now responsible for all wastewater discharge permitting and compliance in state waters.

The state announced Nov. 1 that the department, or DEC, had assumed permitting authority for all wastewater discharges through its Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination program, or APDES.

The newest additions to that program are the oil and gas industry, pesticides, munitions and other facilities.

 “This is an important accomplishment for the State of Alaska,” said DEC Commissioner Larry Hartig in a statement. “The transfer of this authority will enable us to manage wastewater issues closer to home and better serve Alaskans as a result. We appreciate EPA’s efforts in helping us reach this goal.”

Previously, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, had the authority to issue those permits under the Clean Water Act. The state applied to take over in 2008, and has been phasing in APDES since the application was approved. The EPA will oversee the state’s program, and is still responsible for facilities operating outside of state waters.

The announcement marks the fourth and final addition to the state’s wastewater permitting authority. Earlier phases included seafood processing facilities, hatcheries, federal facilities, and mining activities.

11/01/2012 - 10:57am