The Department of Ecology regulates waste discharge from Cruise Ships in Washington State.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Department of Ecology (Ecology),
the Cruise Lines International Association North West & Canada (CLIA-NWC) and the Port of Seattle was originally signed on April 20, 2004.
It has been
five times since then to strengthen the requirements.
Annual Cruise Ship MOU Meeting
March 12, 2015
Port of Seattle
The MOU covers large passenger ships that are members of the CLIA-NWC.
It does not cover ships such as:
The MOU prohibits discharges of both
blackwater and graywater
to Washington state waters from all cruise ships except discharges treated with
advanced wastewater treatment systems (AWTS) and when stringent requirements are
met. Such systems have been and are being installed on some of the cruise ships
serving the Alaska market. AWTS are installed to provide treatment that meets or
exceeds Alaska’s requirements under federal law.
The MOU defines the subject waters as being consistent with Washington marine
waters. It requires sampling and monitoring of wastewater discharges and allows
for vessel inspections by Ecology.
The MOU includes additional elements, such
- Sewage sludge (biomass) discharges are prohibited within 12 nautical
miles from shore and within the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
- No discharges within a half a mile of shellfish beds.
- Specific sampling regimen, testing, and reporting are required.
- Continuous monitoring for turbidity and disinfection with capability to
shut down immediately.
- Advanced notification and documentation are required from ships planning
to discharge via an AWTS.
- Cruise ships must comply with Washington’s more restrictive
hazardous-waste laws, are prohibited from dumping garbage into state waters
and may only discharge oily bilge water per regulation.
Need to Report a Spill or MOU
Immediately Report MOU Non-Compliance to the Department of Ecology at:
Immediately Report “upset of disinfection" to Department of Health at:
(8 am-5 pm)
Information for reporting oil or other spills
Map of Waters
Subject to MOU
Department of Ecology
Water Quality Program
3190 160th Ave. SE
Bellevue, WA 98008