Archive for the ‘Cruise Ships’ Category

Authorities stop flow of raw sewage into the ocean surrounding St. Croix

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Authorities stop flow of raw sewage into the ocean surrounding St. Croix January 21, 2004 By Mat Probasco, Associated Press

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands - A sewage spill that kept a cruise ship at bay, closed an area beach, and discolored turquoise waters has been corrected, officials said Tuesday.

Heavy rains last month damaged two of three sewage pumps at the Frederiksted sewage station, causing raw sewage to run into the harbor.

After weeks of work, the pumps have been fixed and the problem corrected, said Joseph Bradford, director of wastewater utilities. Dilapidated equipment and shipping problems over the holiday season were to blame for the delay, Bradford said.

The Radisson Diamond cruise ship planned to stop in St. Croix on Saturday but instead went to the British Virgin Islands because of the sewage problem, which temporarily shut down a Frederiksted beach.

Sewage was spilling into the sea at a rate of 50 gallons (190 liters) per minute at some points, Bradford said.

St. Croix has been struggling with its public waste management for more than a decade, with repeated mandates from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. District Court ordering repairs be undertaken.

Contamination has forced beaches to close, and sewage sometimes seeps through manholes in the island’s main towns.

A sewage station in Christiansted is still off-line, and as much as 1.3 million gallons (nearly 5 million liters) of sewage has been pumped into the harbor each day since early December, said Jim Casey of the EPA’s Virgin Islands office.

In August, the U.S. Caribbean territory missed an EPA deadline to secure a contract for upgrading sewage systems to comply with the 1972 Federal Clean Water Act.

The territory’s public works department, which has acknowledged the seriousness of sewage problems in St. Croix, is due to appear in federal court Thursday to show that they have plans to meet federal clean water guidelines. Source: Associated Press

Key West is cracking down on cruise ships

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Key West is cracking down on cruise ships

Friday, January 09, 2004 By Associated Press

KEY WEST, Florida - Key West’s city commission has asked cruise ships that dock in this island to pump their wastewater into the local sewage system instead of dumping it offshore.

Mayor Jimmy Weekley said water quality is critical to the sensitive ecosystem around the Florida Keys, home to the United States’ only tropical marine preserve.

“The U.S. Navy is willing to pump out and cruise ships need to pump out,” Weekley said during a meeting earlier this week. “If cruise ships can’t do that, maybe they should go somewhere else. It’s a detriment to the environment.”

Cruise ships dump thousands of gallons of wastewater into the ocean during a voyage. Under requirements of the federal Clean Water Act, cruise ships can dump when they are at least three miles offshore. Locally, cruise ship companies pump out at least 12 miles offshore, cruise ship representatives have said.

Michael Crye, president of the International Council of Cruise Lines, an industry group, said many cruise ships use treatment systems that produce water clean enough for people to drink, so it doesn’t make sense to put it into the municipal wastewater system.

Ships without those advanced treatment systems still exceed the requirements of the Clean Water Act and studies have shown that dumping under the act’s guidelines has little or no impact on ocean water quality, Crye said Thursday.

“There is little if any environmental gain” from Key West’s proposal, he said.

The proposal calls for ships docking in Key West to pay 5 cents a gallon to pump into the sewage system. But it could be difficult to order cruise ships to refrain from releasing wastewater between a prior port and Key West, Port Director Raymond Archer said.

“The intent is admirable and we support it, but there are a lot of unknowns right now,” Archer said. “We need to create and adopt a policy and way of enacting it.”

Also, only one of the city’s three cruise ship piers has a pumping station. Weekley said it could take up to a year to have all the piers ready for cruise ship pumping. He asked City Manager Julio Avael to negotiate the proposal with cruise lines.

The proposal was made during a successful vote to raise passenger fees from $8 to $10.63 for each person who disembarks in Key West.

Source: Associated Press