Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 1:29 PM on Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Seward named 'clean harbor'

The Seward Small Boat Harbor has been certified as an Alaska Clean Harbor by the Alaska Clean Harbors Advisory Committee.

The committee, the certifying body for the Alaska Clean Harbors program, includes representatives from Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Cook Inletkeeper, Green Star, Marine Exchange of Alaska, NOAA's Restoration Center and the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators.

Alaska Clean Harbors is a voluntary program providing pollution prevention tools for communities to protect the marine resources that support coastal economies. Through participation in the program, harbormasters complete a self-evaluation and are scored on 88 best management practices related to pollution prevention and waste management for their facility. Harbor staff then work with Alaska Clean Harbors to improve the score and meet program criteria by implementing new practices, leading to substantial long-term cost savings, an improved commitment to pollution prevention, increased waste reduction, and ongoing promotion of clean boating.

Currently Alaska Clean Harbors only works with facilities that have permanent moorage for boaters.

Seward Harbor employee Matt Chase spearheaded the Seward Harbor application process, with the support of Harbormaster Mack Funk and harbor staff. Highlighted in their application is the Seward Harbor used-oil program and commitment to managing waste streams around the harbor. All used oil is burned to heat four city shops, used anti-freeze is exchanged with Emerald Alaska for products used in city equipment, and contaminated bilge water goes through oil-water separation so that the oil can be recycled and the water can be disposed of properly.

"Staff are enthusiastically looking ahead to opportunities to reach out to the community and increase positive boater relations with the harbor, including during the 2012 Harbor Opening Day festivities in May," according to a press release.

Rachel Lord, coordinator for Alaska Clean Harbors, says there is a lot of enthusiasm for the program around the state. She presented the Seward Harbor with its award Monday during a meeting of the Seward City Council.