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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 23, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Keeping sewage out of Puget Sound

Column misrepresents cruise ships

A cruise ship steams out of Puget Sound. [Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times.]

A cruise ship steams out of Puget Sound.
[Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times.]

Peter Goldmark’s column inaccurately represents the cruise industry and does not make mention of our world-class environmental practice or the regulatory controls and oversight we have in place. [“Guest column: We must keep boat sewage out of Puget Sound,” Opinion, Sept. 18.]First, cruise ships are not discharging in Puget Sound, and have not in years, as per our Memorandum of Understanding with the Washington Department of Ecology.

Beyond that, the member lines of Cruise Lines International Association — North West & Canada (CLIA — NWC) have invested more than $60 million on wastewater-purification systems that treat water to standards higher than most land-based operations. The practices deployed by CLIA — NWC members serve as a model of environmental stewardship for cruise ships everywhere.

In addition, Goldmark’s column does not distinguish between different regions of the Sound, treating it as one homogeneous body of water. Most of the effects described by Goldmark are localized. Sewer overflows and suburban runoff are prime contributors to water-quality issues in South Puget Sound and South Hood Canal, where cruise ships do not operate.

As an industry, we support the goal of protecting Puget Sound and have adopted the appropriate technology and practices to be sure we do our part.

Greg Wirtz, president of Cruise Lines International Association — North West & Canada, Vancouver, B.C.

Comments | More in Environment, Seattle | Topics: cruise ships, environment, puget sound

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