[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 231 (Monday, December 1, 2008)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-28470]
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
[Docket No. USCG-2007-0042]
Application for the Containerized Cargo Ship ATLANTIC COMPASS,
Review for the Inclusion in the Shipboard Technology Evaluation
Program; Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant
AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.
ACTION: Notice of availability.
SUMMARY: The Coast Guard announces the availability of the Final
Environmental Assessment (FEA) and Finding of No Significant Impact
(FONSI) that evaluated the potential environmental impacts resulting
from accepting the vessel the ATLANTIC COMPASS into the Shipboard
Technology Evaluation Program (STEP). Under the STEP, the ATLANTIC
COMPASS will be using and testing the Ecochlor TM Inc.
Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS), as the vessel operates in U.S.
ADDRESSES: Comments and material received from the public, as well as
documents mentioned in this notice as being available in the docket,
are part of the docket USCG-2007-0042. These documents are available
for inspection or copying at the Docket Management Facility (M-30),
U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001,
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal
holidays. You can also find all docketed documents on the Federal
Document Management System at http://www.regulations.gov, United States
Coast Guard docket number USCG-2007-0042.
You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2007-0042
using any one of the following methods:
(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
(2) Fax: 202-493-2251.
(3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of
Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
(4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone
number is 202-366-9329.
To avoid duplication, please use only one of these methods.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this
assessment please contact LCDR Brian Moore at 202-372-1434 or e-mail:
email@example.com. If you have questions on viewing or submitting
material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket
Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This document has been tiered off the
Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for STEP dated December 8,
2004 (69 FR 71068, Dec 8,
2004), and was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental
Policy Act of 1969 (Section 102 (2)(c)), as implemented by the Council
of Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508) and Coast
Guard Commandant Instruction M16475.1D. From these documents, the Coast
Guard has prepared an FEA and FONSI for accepting the ATLANTIC COMPASS
into the STEP.
Response to Comments: The Coast Guard requested comments on the
Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) when the Notice of Availability
and Request for Public Comments was published in the Federal Register
on April 4, 2008 (73 FR 18543, Apr. 4, 2008). The Coast Guard received
31 substantive comments total from 4 agencies. The Coast Guard has
responded to all of the comments that were within the scope of the DEA.
One commenter requested a description of the circumstances under
which ballast is discharged without any treatment.
These circumstances are described in 33 CFR 151.2030(b). The Coast
Guard has determined that in order to keep the FEA concise this
background information should not be included in the document.
One commenter asked for clarification regarding the statement ``* *
* treatment system is expected to have no impact on water quality,
biological resources * * *''. The commenter asked how there could be no
impact when residuals (biocides) would be released.
The Coast Guard acknowledges this comment, but disagrees with the
inference. This paragraph refers strictly to the effects of the BWT
system as it pertains to coastal barrier systems, and, as such, we
conclude there will be no impact on water quality as it affects coastal
barrier systems. The overall effects of residuals on water quality are
discussed elsewhere in the FEA.
One commenter asked under what circumstances a vessel would be
granted a safety waiver.
The circumstances in which a safety waiver can be used are
described in 33 CFR 151.2030(b). The Coast Guard has determined that in
order to keep the FEA concise, this background information should not
be included in the FEA.
One commenter requested examples of accuracy and precision related
to the target final concentration of the automated system (i.e., does
it produce a 5.0 ppm concentration every time or is there some
The Coast Guard has determined that the initial dosage values that
have been proposed by the applicant are based solely upon laboratory
results using validated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods.
The STEP program is intended to provide the sort of detailed
information requested by the commenter. As of now, only laboratory
values have been established. Gathering actual shipboard examples of
dosing parameters is a primary goal of the STEP.
One commenter requested clarification regarding the statement ``* *
* that chlorite reacts with metals.'' The commenter asked which metals
would cause a reaction and if processes have been developed to assess
The Coast Guard has determined that the clarification of potential
for metal reactions with the treatment chemicals is outside the scope
of this FEA, which is narrowly focused on the potential for impacts to
the environment. The Coast Guard, the ship's owner/operator,
classification society, and flag administration are also monitoring the
ship's structure under different laws, rules, and regulations.
One commenter asked how long it would take chlorate to decompose
and if chlorate and chlorite have an impact on organisms.
The Coast Guard has determined that the degradation rate of
chlorate is similar to that of chlorite, but was not included because
it is such a small fraction of the degradation products of
ClO2. Both chlorate and chlorite are biocides.
One commenter requested estimated water residency times for the
The system manufacturer has not provided the Coast Guard with any
information about harbor water residency times (for the chemical
residuals associated with this system). However, the Coast Guard
believes that based on the non-persistent nature of the ClO2
and the long residence time associated with this vessel's voyages, that
the amount of residual available for discharge is negligible and should
not present an accumulation hazard.
One commenter requested clarification regarding the statement
``residual chemical levels are thought to be below applicable EPA and
state discharge standards.'' The commenter asked if there were any data
to support this statement and what the preliminary testing levels and
The Coast Guard has determined that there are no known state or
Federal standards for discharge of ClO2, or its degradation
products, into marine waters. However, the reported discharge
concentrations of these residuals are not detected when held beyond
five days and up to 1.5 ppm when held between one and two days. These
levels are below the levels associated with significant toxicity to
aquatic organisms, even before the dilution effects of discharge into
One commenter asked what sodium sulfate concentrations were
produced and if they would be toxic. The commenter also asked if there
was any information available regarding sodium sulfate and its effects.
The Coast Guard has determined that sulfates in several forms are
common constituents of seawater. The EcochlorTM system is
expected to introduce ~5 ppm sulfate against a background of ~2600 ppm
sulfate. The impact of this additional load is expected to be
One commenter requested that a description of the planktonic
communities and potential indirect effects on fisheries should be
included in the document. The commenter also suggested including a map
of the ports.
The Coast Guard disagrees with the suggestion of including a map of
the harbor locations. Each port is part of a major metropolitan area of
the same name and easily located on any map, chart or Web mapping
service. Information on plankton and fisheries is included in the FEA.
One commenter asked if the chlorite residues from the Ecochlor
TM system could impact small marine invertebrates, the food
source for the endangered piping plover.
The Coast Guard has consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Services which has stated that accepting the ATLANTIC COMPASS into the
STEP is not likely to adversely affect any listed species including the
piping plover, if the ship operates in accordance with its application.
One commenter stated that there was an introduction to Baltimore
Harbor, but not Portsmouth Harbor.
The Coast Guard agrees with this comment and has added introductory
information about Portsmouth Harbor to the FEA.
One commenter stated that the biological surveys in the section
Benthos, Baltimore Harbor are out-dated (conducted in 1975 and 1983).
The commenter requested that more recent data be provided.
The Coast Guard agrees with this comment and has updated this
One commenter stated that the benthic index of biological integrity
information seemed out of place. The commenter suggested that the
information be removed or described in more detail. The commenter also
requested that information about dominant species be included.
The Coast Guard agrees and the section has been simplified to
improve readability and consistency with other sections including
discussion of dominant species.
One commenter asked if there were any wetlands in Portsmouth
The Coast Guard has determined that wetlands in Portsmouth harbor
are typical for the Chesapeake and that they are described in the FEA.
One commenter asked if there were any planktivorous fish that may
be indirectly affected by potential impacts on planktonic communities.
The Coast Guard believes that the analysis of ecosystems conducted
in the PEA includes the potential direct and indirect impacts upon all
fish species, including plankton eaters. This analysis has concluded
that the range of impacts resulting from the preferred alternative runs
from not significant to potentially beneficial based on the probability
that the BWMS under evaluation may prevent the introduction of non-
indigenous species which could have very significant adverse impacts on
the ecosystems under study, including plankton eaters.
One commenter asked for the average salinity and turbidity values
for the Newark Bay, what levels were considered low for dissolved
oxygen and requested that a list of the toxic pollutants in the
Chesapeake Bay be included in the document.
The Coast Guard disagrees that the additional water body
characterization information requested by the commenter is necessary to
make a determination about whether to accept the ATLANTIC COMPASS into
the STEP because the Coast Guard has determined that ambient turbidity,
dissolved oxygen, and toxic pollutant levels are not relevant to the
degradation pathways for the potential treatment residuals. For the
same reason, the Coast Guard declines to include a list of toxic
pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay in the document.
One commenter stated that the potential impact of chlorite is
underestimated and the toxicity of chlorite is not mentioned in the
document. The commenter stated that according to http://www.pesticideinfo.org, chlorite causes serious sub-lethal effects
including carcinogenicity and reproductive, developmental, and
neurological toxicity. The commenter also stated that it is inadequate
to only examine the LC50 of chlorite and that the
LC50 is too extreme of an endpoint to determine whether or
not the biological resources will be impacted.
Due to the non-persistent nature of the chemicals, the Coast Guard
believes that all treatment residues will have degraded to levels
sufficiently safe for discharge for the purposes of making a decision
about STEP acceptance. Physical and chemical analysis of the treated
ballast water is a primary goal of the STEP.
One commenter asked for clarification regarding the statement ``the
potential impacts from this action will primarily be to the planktonic
community''. The commenter stated that out of 13 studies that were
listed in Addendum F, only 3 were performed on plankton, and had
LC50 well below the value for ``compiled toxicity levels''
reported in the text (``The compiled toxicity levels are mostly greater
than * * * 75,000 ug/L for chlorite * * *'').
Based on the extended residence times that the biocide will be
stored in the vessel ballast tanks, the Coast Guard has determined that
all treatment residues will have degraded to levels sufficiently safe
for discharge for the purposes of making a decision about STEP
acceptance. Physical and chemical analysis of the treated ballast water
is a primary goal of the STEP.
One commenter stated that the link for EPA Aquire (Addendum F) was
broken, and the previous studies need to be properly referenced. The
commenter also stated that the table is not reader friendly, and it is
unclear whether the algae species tested were not affected by chlorite
exposure because chlorite is not toxic to algae, or because the
concentrations administered were low.
The Coast Guard was not able to replicate the difficulty locating
the EPA Aquire database. The Coast Guard appreciates the time and
expertise the EPA has placed into its toxicity database. However, the
Coast Guard is not an appropriate agent for making changes to an EPA
work product. The data show that algae are not being affected by
chlorite. Since the evaluated dosages include the expected maximum
discharge concentrations, the negligible impact conclusion is
One commenter asked how chlorite, chlorate, and chlorine dioxide
impact biological resources. The commenter also stated that a
discussion of the local planktonic communities should be included in
The Coast Guard has determined that the treatment chemical--
chlorine dioxide--and its initial degradation products are toxic to
biological organisms. That is why they are proposed for use as ballast
water treatments. The applicant has provided bench top data that show
the residuals of these biocides are small enough and dilute quickly
enough upon discharge from the ship that they are not likely to have a
long term or cumulative adverse impact on the receiving water. However,
characterization and assessment of the effluent is a principal goal of
the STEP and these values will be used to determine further suitability
of the BWTS for use in U.S. waters. The use of the pesticide info.org
report is not directly relevant as that information is based on human
exposures which are not likely to occur since the water will be
discharged directly to the sea in industrial harbors.
One commenter asked what the typical port pH values were. The
commenter also asked what would cause a drop in pH.
The Coast Guard disagrees that the information requested by the
commenter is necessary, because of the de minimis volumes on water
discharge into the unconfined industrial port waters. Therefore, the
requested information is not needed to make a determination whether to
accept the ATLANTIC COMPASS into the STEP. Characterization of the
effluent is a primary component of the STEP.
One commenter asked for clarification regarding the statement ``* *
* the discharge pH will still generally be near neutrality * * * not
likely pose a significant negative impact.''
The Coast Guard has determined that the actual impact from a single
ship discharging into a harbor is too small to have other than a
negligible impact to the harbor itself and no measurable impact on the
larger coastal environment.
One commenter asked what the chlorine (gas) emission limits were.
The commenter also asked if it was harmful and if testing for
Cl2 will be conducted.
The Coast Guard has determined that none of the degradation
pathways for chlorine dioxide include formation of elemental chlorine
(Cl2, a gas at normal temperature); the end product of
degradation is chloride ion (Cl-), a harmless and ubiquitous
component of seawater.
One commenter asked if there were any long term impacts from
chlorite. The commenter stated that chlorite decomposition appears to
take between 70-200 days and that this amount of time and the
continuous discharges from the vessel (described as every 35 days for a
round trip voyage), may result in a build up of chlorite levels in the
harbor depending on circulation patterns.
The applicant has provided bench top data that show the residuals
of these biocides are very small and dilute below the no observable
level upon discharge from the ship. The Coast Guard has determined that
they are not a long term or cumulative hazard on the receiving water
because of their non-persistent nature.
One commenter stated that the information found in Appendix E
should be discussed in the body of the document. The commenter also
stated that the possibility of residual ClO2 discharge was
discussed in the Appendix, but the potential amounts of these
discharges should be discussed earlier in the document.
The Coast Guard disagrees with this comment. The specific chemical
equations describing the outcome are beyond the scope of the FEA,
however, they are provided in the Appendix so that interested parties
may verify the conclusions on a scientific basis.
One commenter stated that they did not object to the proposed
project, but if this program were to expand, they would recommend
review of the environmental assessment by the New Jersey Division of
Water Quality (NJDEP). The commenter also stated that if the
determination was made that a ship is a fixed pipe discharger, a
discharge permit should be required, and reporting requirements should
The Coast Guard appreciates the comment and will inform NJDEP of
all applicable future STEP vessels.
All of the commenters stated their support and approval for the
ATLANTIC COMPASS acceptance into the STEP, and recommended that the
application should be granted.
The Coast Guard appreciates all of the comments and support for
including the ATLANTIC COMPASS into STEP. FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL
ASSESSMENT: The Final PEA for STEP identified and examined the
reasonable alternatives available to evaluate novel ballast water
management systems for effectiveness against nonindigenous species
(NIS) transportation by ships' ballast water.
The FEA for acceptance of the ATLANTIC COMPASS into the STEP and
the subsequent operation of the experimental treatment system analyzed
the no action alternative and one action alternative that could fulfill
the purpose, and need of identifying suitable technologies capable of
preventing the transportation of NIS in ships ballast water.
Specifically, the FEA for the ATLANTIC COMPASS acceptance into the STEP
is tiered off of the PEA for the STEP, and considers the potential
impacts to the environment from the operation of the treatment system
on the ATLANTIC COMPASS, by examining the functioning of the system,
the operational practices of the vessel, and the potential affects on
discharge water quality.
This notice is issued under authority of the National Environmental
Policy Act of 1969 (Section 102(2)(c)), as implemented by the Council
of Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508) and Coast
Guard Commandant Instruction M16475.1D.
Dated: November 21, 2008.
Brian M. Salerno,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety,
Security and Stewardship.
[FR Doc. E8-28470 Filed 11-28-08; 8:45 am]
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