Cruise Ship Dumping

Reason for Concern

We have heard many concerns from community members and leaders regarding the impact of cruise ships on our Southeast Alaskan waters. 

The two primary sources of water pollution from cruise ships in Alaska are treated wastewater (sewage/graywater) and exhaust gas scrubber wastewater. 

Each year, the size of cruise ships, the number of people they bring, and the voyages they take through Southeast Alaska increases. As a result, the amount of wastewater they produce and dump into Southeast Alaskan waters continues to grow.

There are many concerning environmental and human health impacts associated cruise ship wastewater in Alaska.

SEACC has become increasingly concerned about the impact of cruise ship exhaust gas scrubber pollution. Emerging science indicates that scrubber wastewater is a dangerous environmental pollutant and that the effects on the food web may be serious.

Scrubber wastewater is a new source of pollution resulting from recent international air quality-based restrictions on sulfur in ship fuel. A loophole was created that allowed ships to continue to burn cheap, dirty bunker fuel as long as the exhaust was “washed” in a scrubber. Most scrubbers use immense volumes of seawater and the contaminated water is dumped directly into the ocean.

What you can do:

Report any discharge you observe in the water that has floating oil, film, sheen or discoloration to DEC. Be sure to note the date, time, dock location, and name of the vessel. Also, describe what it looks like and smells like, and include any photos/videos you have.

  • Send all reports to DEC at 907-465-5278 or
  • If you do report a violation to DEC, please also let SEACC know by emailing Aaron Brakel at so we can track what has been reported and follow-up with DEC.

Please join our contact list as we share further information on scrubber discharge and other cruise ship pollution.

Other Topics of Concern



Tier 3 Protections

Tier 3 Waters