There is a new business opportunity in Alaska - and it stinks.
Recently the state of Alaska enacted new legislation for cleaner ocean water. That sounds pretty good, don't you think?
The legislation requires cruise ships to give samples of their waste water to Alaska labs for testing. If those tests show too much of certain "substances" in the waste water, the ships must change thier itineraries and go further out to sea to dump that waste water. That shortens port calls, and burns extra fuel - creating more pollution. That doesn't sound so good.
So what are these nasty substances the Alaskans don't like?
Metallic ions like copper and magnesium.
Where do these metallic ions come from?
Some of them come from the ship's A/C plants.
Most of them come from the fresh water the ships buy in Alaska ports.
Say that again...............????
Cruise ships buy a lot of fresh water in Alaska ports. It is clean and tasty - and it is much cheaper to buy the local water than to burn expensive fuel to power the onboard desalination plants.
All that great fresh Alaska water comes down from the mountains - which are loaded with metallic ions. Those ions get into the fresh water that goes onboard the ships.
There are so many metallic ions in that fresh water, that if a cruise ship were to spill some of that FRESH water into the sea as they were loading it onboard, they could be fined for exceeding the state's pollution levels for WASTE water discharge.
Read that sentence again. These are your tax dollars at work.
So the ship uses the fresh Alaska water loaded all the metallic ions. What becomes of that fresh water?
It eventually becomes waste water - still loaded with all those metallic ions.
But wait - it gets even better.
If the cruise ships want to avoid burning all the extra fuel required to get them further out to sea to dump this forbidden waste water (and shortening your port visit), there is a slightly cheaper option available.
Most Alaska ports don't do much to treat their own waste water. They mainly just dump it into the nearest river, or harbor, or the sea.
Now a few Alaska ports have come up with a lucrative plan. If a cruise ship is willing to pay them to pump out the ship's waste water that is too contaminated (under the new regulations) to be discharged near Alaska, that waste water can be mixed in with the local untreated waste water - and then just dumped into the nearest Alaska river or harbor.
Problem solved. The new regulations are complied with, the cruise line avoids burning the extra costly fuel (but gives the money to local waste handlers instead), and the passengers do not lose any port time (but may have to hold their noses during that visit), and the environment is protected - or is it?.
Another example of your well-spent tax dollars.