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Department of Ecology fines Celebrity Cruises

Patricia Murphy
11/17/2006

The Washington state Department of Ecology fined Celebrity Cruises 100 thousand dollars for discharging more than half a million gallons of untreated wastewater into Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. KUOW's Patricia Murphy reports.

ACCORDING TO RECORDS KEPT BY THE MIAMI BASED COMPANY, THE CRUISE SHIP MERCURY VIOLATED THE STATE'S WATER QUALITY STANDARDS WHEN IT DISCHARGED UNTREATED WASTEWATER 10 TIMES OVER NINE DAYS IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER 2005.

THE STATE LEARNED OF THE DISCHARGES DURING A REVIEW OF THE SHIP'S RECORDS THIS SEPTEMBER.

THE RECORDS CONTRADICTED A DECEMBER 2005 LETTER FROM CELEBRITY TO THE ECOLOGY DEPARTMENT SAYING THE MERCURY HAD NOT DISCHARGED WASTEWATER IN WASHINGTON DURING THE 2005 CRUISE SEASON.

CRUISE SHIP WASTEWATER DISCHARGES INTO WASHINGTON WATERS ARE BANNED UNDER AN APRIL 2004 AGREEMENT BETWEEN ECOLOGY, THE NORTHWEST CRUISESHIP ASSOCIATION AND THE PORT OF SEATTLE.

THE WASTEWATER CONTAINED MOSTLY UNTREATED SINK, SHOWER AND LAUNDRY WATER AND A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF TREATED SEWAGE FROM A COAST GUARD-CERTIFIED MARINE SANITATION DEVICE.

IN A STATEMENT CELEBRITY CRUISES PRESIDENT DAN HANRAHAN SAID THE COMPANY TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY AND HAS SPENT MORE THAN $50 MILLION IN ADVANCED WASTEWATER PURIFICATION SYSTEMS ON ALL OF ITS SHIPS.

CELEBRITY HAS 30 DAYS TO APPLY TO ECOLOGY FOR RELIEF FROM THE PENALTY OR APPEAL THE FINE TO THE STATE POLLUTION CONTROL HEARINGS BOARD. PATRICIA MURPHY, KUOW NEWS.

℗ Copyright 2006, KUOW News

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