May 14, 2001
More bad news in Alaska (and it’s only mid-May): Holland America announced that Westerdam, while in Juneau, had a little environmental faux pas or what the company calls “a minor accidental discharge of gray water.” Now gray water – as opposed to the “black” water that was inadvertently dumped by Norwegian Sky last week -- isn’t as pollution-intense; it’s typically comprised of sink and shower run-off as opposed to, well, the types of pollution we alluded to in the previous Norwegian Sky report from the U.S. Coast Guard. It’s still an offense, however. The company estimated it released 35 – 100 gallons of gray water discharge. Holland America immediately reported the incident to the U.S. Coast Guard and says it will “block off all overboard valves to prevent a reoccurrence of an accidental discharge.” Still, the incident is an embarrassment for Holland America, which has been positioning itself as the cruise industry’s leader in environmentally-related Alaskan policies. The company has, for instance, invested millions of dollars to create a “revolutionary wastewater treatment plant” on all ships sailings to Alaska. Called Zenon, and installed so far on the Statendaam and Zaandam, it transforms black and gray water into H20 that’s nearly drinking-standard.