The federal Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that it intended to ban all dumping of sewage by large cargo and cruise ships in California waters out to the three-mile limit. The state has been requesting the ban for five years.
California has long banned the dumping of untreated sewage, and international rules prohibit the largest ships from discharging untreated waste within three miles of the coastline. But, according to figures provided by the state’s Environmental Protection Agency, only about a third of California’s waters are covered by a state ban on any sewage discharge. If the proposed federal waiver is completed, even treated sewage cannot be dumped anywhere within the 5,222 square miles of California waters. More than 90 percent of the treated sewage that is dumped comes from cruise ships.
Jared Blumenfeld, the Southwestern regional administrator for the federal E.P.A., equated California’s push to ban all marine sewage discharge from large vessels to the state’s cutting-edge efforts to control greenhouse gases.
“California is leading the way,” he said. “They are setting the pace for the rest of the nation.”