The Port of Seattle Commission on April 24 voted to ban discharge of all wastewater – treated and untreated alike – at its two cruise terminals.
The ban, which will be inserted into a tariff governing cruise ship practices, goes into effect May 1. It affects vessels docking at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal and Pier 66 terminals.
The motive behind the ban, according to the port, is to help cut down on water pollution.
“This policy helps us achieve economic and environmental goals,” Commission President Gael Tarleton said “We are committed to creating that growth while also protecting Puget Sound.”
The tariff change solidifies what had already been non-binding port policy since 2004, when the port, along with Northwest Cruise Ship Association and the Washington Department of Ecology, established a voluntary agreement.
No cruise ship has discharged treated wastewater while at berth in Seattle for the past two years, according to the port.
The Department of Ecology and other agencies are currently studying the feasibility of a Puget Sound-wide “no discharge zone,” with the results expected in 2013.
About 200 cruise ships call at Seattle annually, according to the port, with 202 expected in 2012. Each visit of a homeport ship brings an estimated $2.1 million to the local economy.
The port’s 2012 cruise season begins May 6 with the arrival of the Holland America ship ms Oosterdam.