Key Performance Indicators
Protect human health and the environment. AS 46.03.010, AS 44.46.020
Key Performance Indicators
- Target: All water facility, wastewater discharge, and air quality permit-holders are current and in compliance with permit requirements.
- Target: 100% of high risk and 20% of non-high risk contingency plan holders are inspected or evaluated for oil discharge prevention annually.
|1: Protecting Human Health|
Target #2: No days when air is unhealthy for sensitive groups.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has been collecting ambient air data in the most populated communities around the state for over 25 years. Air monitoring ensures compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards designed to protect public health. The EPA sets health-based standards for particulate matter and gaseous pollutants. In the state, the primary pollutants of concern are particulate matter and carbon monoxide (CO). Violations of the standards occur when the concentration of air pollution particulates rise above the defined limit as a result of natural events and/or emissions from man-made sources. Natural sources of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution include smoke from wild fires, while coarse particulate matter (PM10) pollution includes ash from volcanic eruption or windblown dust from gravel bars. Man-made PM2.5 pollution is often the byproduct of combustion processes, including home heating emissions such as from wood stoves, and diesel and gas vehicle emissions. Man-made PM10 pollution in Alaska is frequently produced by road dust from gravel roads and road sanding materials.
The chart above shows the number of days the air quality was deemed unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, the elderly, and people with lung or heart diseases. The increased numbers in 2012 and beyond is due to the installation of the North Pole monitoring site. In 2018, all but three exceedances were man-made. The three naturally caused exceedances were due to a high wind event in the Mat-Su Valley and to interior Alaska wildfire smoke (FNSB). 31 of the 33 events were recorded in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, two exceedances were recorded in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley at the Butte and Palmer sites. Since 2000, no violations of the CO standards have been recorded.
The State is currently working with the Fairbanks North Star and the Matanuska Susitna Boroughs to evaluate the extent of the pollution problem and to tailor strategies aimed at eliminating the fine-particulate problem. More information about DEC’s air monitoring projects throughout the state can be found at http://www.dec.alaska.gov/air/.
Target #3: All serviceable rural Alaska homes are served by safe and sustainable sanitation facilities.
The baseline year for this measure is FY2000 when 69% of rural homes were served by adequate sanitation systems. Compared to the 97% of households served in FY2019, this equates to a total increase of 28% over 19 years. The pace of progress has slowed in recent years as federal and State funding for rural Alaska water and sewer projects has sharply declined, and the cost of constructing centralized systems in unserved communities has escalated. Additionally, an increasing share of total available funding has been needed in recent years to pay for necessary upgrades to existing water and sewer systems, making less funds available for constructing systems that will provide first-time service to homes. There was a one percent decrease in the number of homes reported as served between FY2012 and FY2013, and again between FY2015 and FY2016. These changes were not due to homes losing service but rather changes in the methodology for collecting housing data. VSW and partner organizations are transitioning to a map-based housing inventory tracking system, which provides more accurate housing data. It should be noted that this estimate excludes homes and communities currently deemed as “unserviceable” by federal funding agencies and includes homes in larger communities that are eligible for federal funding but ineligible for VSW funding.
|2: Protecting the Environment|
Target #1: All water facility, wastewater discharge, and air quality permit-holders are current and in compliance with permit requirements.
For the water supply system operator certification program, which ensures operators have the qualifications necessary to meet the responsibility of safeguarding public health, a compliance rate of 84% was achieved in FY2019.
The water discharge program issues permits for domestic wastewater, seafood processing, fish hatcheries, mines, oil and gas facilities, and log-transfer facilities. The department is in the process of taking over responsibility for these permits from the EPA, and while compliance is currently 89%, that rate is expected to fluctuate.
The air quality permit program requires major and some minor stationary sources’ compliance be tracked. Under federal compliance reporting, status reverts to “unknown” if compliance is not evaluated in the past two years for major sources or five years for minor sources. These sources are assumed to be in compliance for the purposes of this measure as the majority of the sources are minor sources. In FY2019, 90% were compliant.
Target #2: 100% of high risk and 20% of non-high risk contingency plan holders are inspected or evaluated for oil discharge prevention annually.
Facilities and vessels designated as High Risk in the state include: those with new contingency plans; exploration, production, and refinery facilities; those with spills over 50 gallons; those with formal enforcement actions based on operations violations; and those that would have significant impacts to human health or the environment if there were a failure.
The department acknowledges all facilities or vessels required to have a contingency plan represent some level of inherent risk to the state of Alaska, even if not identified as high risk. Auditing, inspecting, or testing of these non-high risk facilities and their contingency plans is important to verify ongoing prevention and response readiness.
In FY2019 there were a total of 129 regulated approved plan holders. Of that number, six approved plan holders did not have a facility to inspect or exercise. Approved plan holders without any facility were excluded for purposes of this data set. For certain operations, it is not uncommon for a plan holder to defer starting operations or putting a facility in place based on changes in their business plans. Without a facility, there are no operations that department staff can oversee. In total, there were 9 fewer regulated approved plan holders with facilities than in FY2018.
In FY2019 a total of 47 plan holders were classified as high risk, including all six of those plan holders with no facility to be inspected or drilled. In FY2019, 82 plan holders were classified as non-high risk. All non-high risk plan holders had operating facilities during FY2019. The percentage of high risk plan holders for which an inspection or exercise was conducted increased from 39.6% in FY2018 to 68.3% in FY2019. Oversight of non-high risk facilities exceeded the 20% benchmark for the seventh year in a row.
Current as of December 12, 2019