Environmental Studies in Port Valdez, Alaska

Environmental Studies in Port Valdez, Alaska

Editor(s): David G. Shaw

Published Online: 16 MAR 2013

Print ISBN: 9783540966777

Online ISBN: 9781118669297

DOI: 10.1029/LN024

About this Book

Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Lecture Notes on Coastal and Estuarine Studies Series, Volume 24.

It was no surprise that, in the search for a suitable sea-link for the trans-Alaska Pipeline to carry Arctic Slope petroleum to southern markets. Port Valdez was chosen. Among the operational requirements of this facility was the discharge of ballast water from the incoming tankers to a land based treatment plant and then to the port environment. Although highly treated, the discharged water still contained 8 to 10 parts per million of the most soluble fraction of petroleum. Eight to ten barrels of an aromatic rich mixture of hydrocarbons was to be discharged daily. Regulatory requirements included an assessment of the effect of this operation on the biological communities in Port Valdez and surrounding waters. This unique opportunity to observe the environmental effects of development of a major port facility that would discharge treated ballast water into a near pristine oceanographic system was without precedence in modern times. The challenge of this opportunity was grasped, especially by scientists of the Institute of Marine Science of the University of Alaska. Under the sponsorship of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the National Science Foundation and the Alaska Sea Grant Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the now 15 year old program began.

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