Prevent Cruise Ship Waste Water from Destroying Sensitive Marine Habitat

Target: Port of Seattle

Goal: Prevent cruise ships from discharging waste water into the environmentally sensitive Puget Sound

The Puget Sound is vulnerable to pollution from cruise ships. Currently there is no ban on the release of waste water from cruise ships in the Puget Sound. While waste water is generally treated before it is released, a report by the Environmental Protection Agency found that less than half of the older sewage treatment systems aboard cruise ships met federal water standards for waste disposal.  Last year approximately 196 cruise ships visited the Puget Sound, with each one capable of generating more than one million gallons of waste water in a single week. Waste water can contain harmful viruses, bacteria and nutrients which can negatively impact human health and the environment.

The Puget Sound is a complex marine habitat home to a variety of fish, shellfish, plants and birds.  Untreated or inadequately treated waste water can cause bacterial or viral contamination of shellfish beds and fisheries. There are an estimated 190,000 acres of shellfish beds in the Puget Sound, 19% of which are currently closed due to pollution.  Waste water can also contain harmful nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. When higher than normal levels of these nutrients are present in the water they can promote algae blooms which consume oxygen in the water resulting in the death of fish and other aquatic life.

In addition to being harmful to marine life, water pollution can be damaging to the quality of life and health of humans. The Puget Sound is used recreationally by many of the inhabitants of the area through fishing, swimming, and visiting beaches. Swimming in polluted water or eating contaminated shellfish can adversely affect human health by causing illness. In 2010 twenty six percent of beaches in the Puget Sound failed to meet federal health standards for clean water.

Pollution in the Puget Sound can damage marine habitats and adversely affect human health. While there are many sources of pollution, banning the release of waste water from cruise ships would help preserve the Puget Sound for future generations.

By signing the petition below you will help protect the Puget Sound from waste water discharge by cruise ships.


Dear Port of Seattle,

Waste water discharge from cruise ships in the Puget Sound can harm marine habitats. The Puget Sound is home to many species of aquatic life including fish, shellfish, and plants. Water pollution can result in the death of these species and the disruption of ecosystems. In addition it can adversely affect human health through ingestion of contaminated shellfish or by swimming in polluted water. Banning the discharge of waste water from cruise ships in the Puget Sound would help protect marine habitats and human health.

There is a proposed amendment to the agreement regarding cruise ship operations in Washington State that would ban the discharge of waste water in the Puget Sound. I urge you to vote in support of the ban to protect the Puget Sound from toxic waste water.


[Your Name Here]

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62 Signatures

  • Ana Maria Mainhardt Carpes
  • Darlene Roepke
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Richard Ohlendorf
  • Ann Blank
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