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Ocean Survey Vessel BOLD Visits Juneau, Alaska

Release Date: 07/02/2008
Contact Information: Contact: Tim Hoffman, Division of Water, (907) 269-0598 or email timothy.hoffman@alaska.gov, or visit www.dec.alaska.gov/water/ Tony Brown, EPA/Seattle, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

DEC and EPA team up for cruise ship research

(Juneau, Alaska – July 2, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Ocean Survey Vessel BOLD is hosting a free open house for the public from noon to 5:30 PM at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Juneau Pier on Wednesday, July 2.

A team of researchers aboard the 224-foot vessel is using its wide range of monitoring and assessment equipment to study the potential impact of cruise ships on Alaska’s waters. Scientists and researchers will be available during the open house to explain the scientific equipment on board and how they will be using it during their three weeks in Alaska.

The water quality studies are a collaborative effort between EPA and Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

“We are partnering with EPA to study the characteristics and behavior of treated wastewater discharged from stationary large cruise ships,” said Denise Koch, DEC’s cruise ship program manager. ”The study will be conducted in Skagway Harbor, selected because it represents a sort of worst case from the standpoint of cruise ship density and a low energy receiving environment. We will use a dye that is nearly invisible to the eye, but easily detected by our equipment, to see how the discharged wastewater behaves in the relatively calm and sheltered waters around Skagway.”

In addition to the dilution study, EPA is also interested in studying the impact of nutrients in the cold waters of Alaska.

“We are delighted to welcome the OSV BOLD and its crew to Juneau, Alaska,” said Greg Kellogg, EPA’s Alaska Operations Office Deputy Director. “The OSV BOLD represents EPA’s technological leadership in environmental protection and aquatic research. This will be an excellent opportunity for the public to hear directly from scientists and researchers aboard the BOLD, to better understand their work and how it will benefit Alaska.”

This new research will provide data on effects of wastewater from cruise ships once it has been processed by the onboard treatment systems and discharged to Alaska’s waters.

“DEC’s mission is to improve and protect Alaska’s water quality for all users,” said Koch. “We need a good understanding of what the quality of our water is now, and a better understanding of how different users will impact it. The work being carried out on the OSV BOLD will help us do just that.”

For more information on the OSV BOLD go to EPA’s web site at: www.epa.gov/bold/ and for Alaska’s Cruise Ship Program go to DEC’s web site at: www.dec.alaska.gov/water/cruise_ships/