SEATTLE, July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Holland America has installed a revolutionary water treatment process aboard its 1266-passenger ms Statendam and 1440-passenger ms Zaandam that will purify gray and black water to near-drinking water quality before discharge. Following U.S. Coast Guard certification of the treatment plant, which begins this week, Holland America will install the wastewater treatment system at a cost of U.S.$2.5 million each on three additional Alaska-bound vessels before May 2002.
"The ramifications of this prototype treatment plant are quite revolutionary," said Stein Kruse, senior vice president of fleet operations for Holland America Line. "In a short time, our fleet will discharge wastewater cleaner than many communities and virtually pure. It's amazing technology and we are extremely pleased to put this on our ships."
Developed by ZENON Environmental Inc. of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, the treatment plant processes wasterwater through a two-step bio-chamber stocked with bacteria that break down and consume harmful bacteria and chemicals. Water then passes through a patented ZeeWeed(R) filtration system. ZeeWeed(R) filters the treated water by using a slight vacuum to suck the water through thousands of tiny tubes with a .03-micron pore size that allow only water molecules to pass. Suspended solids are left behind in the ZeeWeed(R) filtration chamber.
Filtered water finally passes through ultraviolet light as a final polishing stage before discharge. The discharge water is pure and would meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water standards except for a slight saline content.
Each passenger aboard a cruise ship generates an estimated 100 gallons of wastewater a day according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Holland America regularly tests the water with an independent lab and makes those findings available to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors. Those readings reveal water with zero fecal coliform per 100 milliliters and non-detectable levels of suspended solids, thus providing a wide margin of safety when compared to the most stringent discharge regulations in effect today.
Holland America plans to re-use the water for non-passenger applications such as deck wash-downs, laundry rinse water, engine cooling, and ballast. "It's not a pretty topic but it's a very good step forward, because the environment is something we're all concerned about," said Kruse. "At Holland America, we've always had a strong commitment to the environment and seeking innovative solutions to cruise ship waste."
Holland America has a history of embracing new environmental technologies and exceeding existing regulations. The company has expanded its commitment to responsible environmental practices through a comprehensive fleetwide program that emphasizes waste reduction and recycling, compliance with all international environmental guidelines, and a decision to incorporate zero-discharge wastewater treatment plants and cleaner-burning propulsion technology into its ships.
Starting this year, all ships operating in Alaska have an additional second engineer to provide oversight on all environmental matters, including bilge waste management, emissions, garbage handling, and wastewater processing.
Each Holland America ship also has a staff of five crew who are responsible for processing, storing, recycling, and disposing of the approximately eight tons of garbage generated on board each ship every seven days. The line currently meets or exceeds all provisions of the international, national and state regulations governing the environmental management of marine operations.