The little-regulated cruise ship industry releases hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage and polluted water (containing fecal matter, bacteria, metals, viruses and harmful nutrients) into our oceans and coastal waters as close as three nautical miles from shore. According to EPA's Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment Report, sewage generation rates for large cruise ships can range as high as 74,000 gallons per day, per vessel. These discharges occur near shellfish beds, public beaches, and sensitive pristine marine ecosystems. Like floating cities, cruise ships carry thousands of passengers at any given time and are growing both in average ship size (increasing by approximately 90 feet every five years) and consumer demand.
The Clean Cruise Ship Act (S.1820/H.R.3888) would prohibit the discharge of hazardous waste, sewage sludge, and incinerator ash within all U.S. waters and prohibits the discharge of sewage, graywater, and oily bilge water within 12 nautical miles of shore. In addition, the bill establishes cruise ship water quality standards and monitoring and reporting requirements.