May 03, 2002

Carnival Corp. of Miami, Fla., which operates 40 cruise ships including those of the Carnival Cruise Lines, pleaded guilty on April 19 to falsification of oil record books on several of its ships.

The company will pay $18 million in fines, $9 million of which will be used for a variety of environmental community service projects. Carnival was also ordered to implement and enforce a new corporation-wide environmental compliance program.

The falsifications occurred on numerous occasions between 1996 and 2001, during which period employees ran fresh water past the sensors in the oil water separators of Carnival ships, generating false oil concentration readings. As a result, the sensors failed to activate a diversion valve that would have otherwise kept the contaminated water on board. This allowed the bilge water with oil levels exceeding the allowable limit of 15 ppm to be flushed into sea. Crew members then took the false sensor readings and recorded them in the ships' oil record books.

The release of bilge water with greater than allowed concentrations of oil has the potential to do significant harm to ocean life. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General's Office, the FBI and the U.S. Customs Service. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami.


EPA proposed new regulations on April 30 to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) from new large marine diesel engines used primarily for propulsion power on ocean-going vessels such as container ships, tankers, bulk carriers and cruise ships. While the vessels that use these engines can be flagged in the United States and in other countries, the proposed standards would apply only to engines on U.S.-flagged vessels. Manufacturers of these marine diesel engines have already implemented engine changes to reduce NOx emissions.

The marine diesel engine contribution to local NOx inventories can be high in commercial ports where they operate, which are often located in ozone non-attainment areas. In Baton Rouge/New Orleans, La., and Wilmington, N.C., these marine engines contribute about seven percent of mobile source NOx. In Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Corpus Christi, Texas, they account for about five percent of NOx. In addition, these ships can have a significant impact on inventories in coastal areas without large commercial ports such as Santa Barbara, Calif., where it is estimated that engines on ocean-going marine vessels contribute about 37 percent of total NOx. Large marine diesel engines account for about three percent of national mobile source PM emissions.

PM exposure from diesel exhaust can irritate and inflame lungs and potentially aggravate asthma symptoms, especially in children. Most of the particulate emissions from these engines are a result of the high sulfur content of the fuel used. EPA is also requesting comment on whether a fuel sulfur content limit should be set for the fuel used in these engines. An April 30 deadline to have a proposed rulemaking signed is part of EPA's settlement agreement with the Earth Island Institute. The proposal and related documents are available at


Clean Air Act

  • May 15, 2002 - Seminannual reports due for sources subject to organic hazardous air pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, Subpart G, for synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry production processes


  • May 26, 2002 - Employers subject to process safety management standards must update and revalidate the hazard analysis of their process conducted pursuant to 29 CFR 1910.110(e)(1)


As part of the Year of Clean Water, the nation will celebrate American Wetlands Month throughout May. This year's observance will focus on protecting some of the nation's unique wetlands.

EPA, the Izaak Walton League and other federal and local agencies and non-profit groups have scheduled activities around the country throughout the month. The calendar of nationwide events is available at Activities kick off with an EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency 5K Run and 2K Walk on May 4 in Arlington, Va., to help fund the restoration of a local wetland. Additional activities are planned on the Mall in Washington, D.C., including a National Park Service fair on May 3-4 and on May 18 a family fair at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.

On May 16, the Environmental Law Institute, EPA and other federal agencies will honor the winners of the annual National Wetland Awards. The annual awards honor individuals who have made an innovative effort for wetland conservation, research or educational projects at the regional, state or local level. Winning photos from EPA's first Wetlands Photo Contest will be on display.

Wetlands are transition areas between land and water, combining elements of both, such as grasses and other plant life that spend at least part of the year in shallow water. Some wetlands are more commonly known as marshes, swamps and bogs. They are nature's nurseries, providing habitat to protect early plant and aquatic life. Migrating birds also use wetlands to rest and feed. Wetlands are great spots for fishing, canoeing and bird-watching. They are important for flood control, acting as buffers to absorb and reduce major impacts from flooding waters. Over half of the nation's original wetlands have been lost or converted to other uses, with the rate of loss declining dramatically over the last 30 years. EPA strives to achieve no net loss of wetlands and move towards an annual net gain. Additional information on wetlands and how the public can help is available at:


EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today announced $21.5 million in Brownfields grants to clean up and revitalize blighted communities in 17 states.

Today's grants are awarded under EPA's Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund program to capitalize state and local programs that in turn provide no- interest or low- interest loans to businesses to carry out cleanup activities at Brownfields properties. Federal capitalization of these loan programs provides necessary resources that enable state and local governments to produce or leverage billions of dollars in other public and private sector funding to revitalize economically depressed communities.

The state governments awarded grants today include Alabama ($1 million), Arkansas ($1 million), Colorado ($800,000), Hawaii ($2 million), Kansas ($1 million), New Mexico ($1 million), South Carolina ($900,000) and Washington state ($800,000). Local governments awarded grants, in addition to Oakland County, Mich. ($1 million), include: Coralville, Iowa ($1 million); El Paso, Texas ($1 million); Kenosha, Wis. ($1 million); Milwaukee, Wis. ($1 million); Madera County, Calif. ($1 million); Santa Rosa, Calif. ($1 million); Monroe, Mich. ($1 million); Taylor, Mich. ($1 million); Montgomery County, Pa. ($1 million); Southern Windsor Regional Planning Commission, Vt. ($1 million); Springfield, Ohio ($1 million); and Worcester, Mass. ($1 million). To date, EPA has awarded 143 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants to 39 states and the District of Columbia totaling almost $91 million.

For every dollar of federal money spent on Brownfields cleanup activities, cities and states produce or leverage $2.48 in private investment. To date, EPA's Brownfields program has leveraged over $4 billion in public and private investments that have turned abandoned industrial properties into thriving economic centers, useful recreational areas and beneficial open spaces.

In addition to the Revolving Loan Fund program, EPA's Brownfields program also funds state and local governments through assessment demonstration pilots and job training pilots. All of these pilot programs are intended to provide states, tribes, municipalities and communities with useful information and strategies to promote a unified approach to site assessment, environmental cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties. These grants spur partnerships among state and local governments, community groups, investors and developers to get sites cleaned up and ready for community use instead of remaining a liability to the community and a continuing threat to public health and the environment.

Earlier this year, President Bush signed bipartisan legislation that will encourage the cleanup and redevelopment of old industrial properties -- cleaning up our environment, creating jobs and protecting small businesses from frivolous lawsuits. In addition, the President's FY 03 budget request doubled the funds available through the EPA in FY 02 -- from $98 million to $200 million -- to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfields sites

For further information about EPA's Brownfields program go to


The Department of Justice, EPA, and the state of Maryland announced a joint settlement with the city of Baltimore that addresses continuing hazards posed by hundreds of illegal wastewater discharges of raw sewage from Baltimore's wastewater collection system.

Untreated discharges have long contaminated Baltimore-area waters with bacteria, pathogens and other harmful pollutants, which can seriously degrade water quality, kill aquatic life and threaten public health. Raw sewage can cause a number of diseases in contaminated areas, including cholera, dysentery and gastroenteritis.

Under the settlement, the city has agreed to undertake a comprehensive, system-wide program that will bring the city into long-term compliance with the Clean Water Act. It will also end the years of chronic discharges of millions of gallons of raw sewage into city streets and local waterways, including the Patapsco River and other tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.

Once completed, the extensive sewer upgrade will cost approximately $940 million over the 14-year life of the agreement. In addition, the city has agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty and design a biological nutrient reduction facility for the removal of nitrogen at the city-owned Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant at an estimated cost of at least $2.7 million.

Most of Baltimore's wastewater is intended to be transported in sanitary sewer systems -- a network of sewer pipes connected to the city's wastewater treatment facilities. The city experiences frequent sanitary system overflows (SSOs) caused by excessive use, limited sewer capacity and infiltration of water into the system caused by years of neglect.

Since 1996 the city has experienced hundreds, if not thousands, of unpermitted discharges of raw sewage from its sanitary sewer system. Conservative estimates of the volume of raw sewage discharged are well over 100,000,000 gallons.

Heavy rainfall or snowmelts often overwhelm the capacity of these systems, resulting in combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that discharge contaminated storm water and untreated human and industrial waste to local waterways. Many of the waterbodies impacted by the illegal sewage discharges fail to meet the Maryland water quality standards for fecal coliform, which is one measure of disease carrying pathogens in waterbodies.

Under the settlement, Baltimore has agreed to complete construction work associated with increasing the capacity of its collection system and eliminating physical overflow structures by June 2007. The agreement also requires the city, pursuant to an enforceable schedule with milestone dates and stipulated penalties for failure to:

  • perform a comprehensive program to repair and rehabilitate its dilapidated sewer system to address remaining SSOs
  • eliminate illegal sewer connections
  • effect a complete separation of the combined portion of the system
  • improve its operation and maintenance program
  • implement an emergency response plan
  • update its monitoring and reporting of sewage discharges

The Justice Department and EPA, often joined by the states, are taking an active lead in municipal Clean Water Act enforcement and have already entered into settlements with numerous municipalities including Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Boston, New Orleans, San Diego, Honolulu, Miami, Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio; Jefferson County, Ala. and Mobile, Ala.

In Maryland, the Maryland Department of the Environment has also been aggressively working to correct sewerage problems in its own municipalities and recently signed a consent decree with Allegany County, Cumberland, LaVale and Frostburg for upgrading and rehabilitation of the combined sewer system that they share.

The proposed consent decree was filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. It is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.