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Water: Vessel Water Discharge

Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment Report

EPA prepared the Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment Report (Assessment Report) (PDF) (162 pp, 1MB, About PDF) to complete its response to a petition the Bluewater Network submitted on behalf of a number of environmental advocacy organizations. On December 20, 2007, EPA invited comment on the draft Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment Report (draft Assessment Report), and specifically requested public input on options, alternatives, and recommendations for addressing the waste streams assessed in the draft Assessment Report. After consideration of public comments and other available information, EPA completed the Assessment Report. In a Federal Register notice (PDF) (4 pp, 90K, About PDF) published on December 30, 2008, the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water signed the Federal Register notice of availability of the Assessment Report, thereby concluding EPA's response to the Bluewater Network petition.

The Assessment Report assesses five primary cruise ship waste streams: sewage, graywater, oily bilge water, solid waste, and hazardous waste. For each waste stream, the Assessment Report discusses (1) the nature and volume of the waste stream generated; (2) existing federal regulations applicable to the waste stream; (3) environmental management, including treatment, of the waste stream; (4) potential adverse environmental impacts of the waste stream; (5) actions by the federal government to address the waste stream; and (6) a wide range of options and alternatives that address the waste stream from cruise ships.

EPA’s full response to the petition (PDF) (9 pp, 644K, About PDF) from the Bluewater Network was signed by EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water on January 31, 2008.


On March 17, 2000, the EPA Administrator received a petition from the Bluewater Network (PDF) (11 pp, 1.7MB, About PDF) on behalf of 53 organizations asking the Agency to assess, and where necessary control, cruise ship discharges. On August 2, 2000, the Bluewater Network submitted an addendum to their petition (PDF) (3 pp, 284K, About PDF) requesting that EPA also examine and make recommendations on how to address air pollution from cruise ships, both from engine emissions and from shipboard incinerators.

EPA also received a resolution (PDF) (4 pp, 773K, About PDF) by the Central Council of The Tlingit-Haida Tribes of Alaska requesting federal action to control cruise ship discharges. In addition, over 250 postcards from private individuals and several e-mail messages were sent to EPA asking for actions to stop pollution from cruise ships.

EPA’s Cruise Ship White Paper (PDF) (19 pp, 60K, About PDF) provides some preliminary background information and recommendations regarding EPA’s assessment of cruise ship discharges.

If you have problems accessing these scanned documents, please send an e-mail to cruise.ships@epa.gov.


Federal Register | PDF Version (4 pp, 90K, About PDF)

Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment Report (PDF) (162 pp, 1MB, About PDF)


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