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Alaska Waste Disposal Permit (18-AK-c)

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is responsible for authorizing the construction, modification or operation of any sewage system or treatment works. Regulated actions include:
  • disposal or discharge of solid waste
  • disposal or discharge of liquid waste
  • discharge of heated or cooling water onto the land
  • discharge of heated or cooling water into water

DEC may approve an individual permit or a general permit. A general permit is issued on a statewide, regional or other geographic basis. General permits are appropriate for activities that are similar enough in nature that multiple individual permits are unnecessary.

Geothermal drilling wastes are regulated in the same manner as oil and gas drilling wastes.

Most geothermal projects in Alaska dispose of their waste in established off-site facilities, which does not require a permit.


The most common method of disposing of geothermal drilling waste is utilizing a Temporary Storage Plan Approval process. Approval is achieved through submitting a Temporary Storage Check List form from Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. This method is considered faster and cheaper alternative to the full permitting process and has provided effective protection to human health and the environment.


The Drilling Waste Monofill Solid Waste Permit Application may also be utilized for surface disposal of geothermal drilling wastes, but is not used often.


Industrial waste are regulated through the Industrial Waste Monofill Solid Waste Permit Application. This permit is rarely used.

The Solid Waste Program encourages developers to contact them early in the planning stages in order to facilitate a smoother permitting process. The Solid Waste Program staff is available to provide valuable guidance on the front end of the process.

Waste Disposal Permit Process

18-AK-c.1 - Did EPA issue a NPDES permit that is state certified

Alaska has a process to waive the Waste Disposal Permit when the NPDES permit process covers the same waste. When a NPDES permit is in place and DEC has certified the existing permit, the applicant may apply for a waiver. There is no formal application process, rather DEC reviews the preexisting permit to determine whether a waiver is appropriate.

The EPA only recently delegated NPDES authority to Alaska, so the statute revers to EPA's determination to grant a NPDES permit that is later certified by DEC. In the near future, this process will require amendment, given EPA will no longer be granting the NPDES permits.

For further reference, please see the Alaska NPDES flowchart: Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit:

18-AK-c.2 - Review NPDES permit for waiver eligibility

During the review, DEC may need information from the application to ensure the activities covered by the NPDES permit are the same as the activities that would be covered under a waste disposal permit.

18-AK-c.3 - Does DEC waive the permit requirement

If DEC decides to waive the permit requirement, a waiver will be processed in favor of the developer. Otherwise, the developer must go through the formal application process.

18-AK-c.4 - Waiver

The waiver is a written record of DEC's determination that the NPDES permit satisfies the waste disposal permit requirement.

18-AK-c.5 - Waste Disposal Permit Application

Both individual and general permits are available. Applicants may request a general permit or coverage under an existing general permit. DEC may on it's own initiative issue a general permit when it deems necessary.

The application should contain the following information:

  1. Name and address of the applicant;
  2. Description of the applicant's operations;
  3. The quantity and type of waste material sought to be disposed of;
  4. The proposed method of disposal; and
  5. Any other information considered necessary by the department.

18-AK-c.6 - Publish public notice

Once an application is accepted, DEC must publish notice of the application or the availability of the draft permit for comment. Notice must be published in at least two publications of a newspaper distributed in the locality of the proposed waste disposal facility. The notice must also be posted on the Alaska Online Public Notice System. DEC must post the application or draft permit online for public review during the comment period.

18-AK-c.7 - Public comment period

Comments must be made in writing within 30 days after the first publication of the notice.

18-AK-c.8 - Notify interested commissioners

DEC must forward copies of the application or proposal to interested commissioners. The interested commissioners include:

  • commissioner of fish and game;
  • commissioner of natural resources;
  • commissioner of commerce, community and economic development; and
  • commissioner of health and social services.

18-AK-c.9 - Review application and agency/public comments

DEC must consider the application and all of the comments from the other agencies as well as the public. DEC may impose any reasonable terms and conditions on the permit to mitigate the concerns expressed during the comment period.

18-AK-c.10 - Waste Disposal Permit

The permit may be issued for no more than five years.

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Contact Information

Edit Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Waste Disposal Permitting Contact 907.269.7590 Visit Website