RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Norwegian Cruise Lines' Mark Curtis, center, talked about the Pride of Hawaii's waste system yesterday inside the ship's engine control room. At left was John Cullan, chief engineer, and at right were Honolulu City Council members Donovan Dela Cruz and Charles Djou.
Cruise ship offers tips on sewage
The Pride of Hawaii boasts a state-of-the-art waste filtering system
City councilmen say they can learn a lot from the cruise ship industry on how to handle sewage.
They toured the Pride of Hawaii cruise ship yesterday and saw how it handles waste aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's newest, state-of-the-art interisland cruise ship.
"We certainly hope that they'll be able to take something from this visit and apply it for themselves," said Robert Kritzman, executive vice president and managing director of NCL's Hawaii operations.
"They are dealing with some of the same problems that we're dealing with when it comes to solid waste and waste-water issues," said Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz. "So, of course we can learn from each other."
Dela Cruz was joined on the tour by Councilmembers Charles Djou and Todd Apo.
Cruise officials said Mayor Mufi Hannemann and members of his Cabinet are also expected to tour the facilities in coming weeks, and Maui County Council and Kauai County's waste-water and solid-waste officials also took the tours.
"A lot of the county officials that deal with sewage and trash are very interested in what the cruise lines are doing," said Denise Hayashi, NCL America director of community relations. "It's an opportunity to showcase what we do and to correct some of the misinformation out there."
Mark Curtis, the ship's environmental officer, said the ship, which began interisland service this summer, is the most technologically advanced cruise ship.
"We also have the advanced waste-water treatment plant," said Curtis, a Boston native. "The system on this ship is even more advanced than my hometown's."
The ship treats waste water in a five-step process known as scanship that filters particles out of the water and eliminates bacteria, company officials said.
"You can probably drink it if you can just get over where it came from," said John Cullan, the chief engineer.
The ship also dries and then incinerates sludge -- the solids separated from sewage effluent -- instead of sending it to the landfill, officials said.
Curtis showed off its recycling center with bins for plastic bottles, aluminum cans, batteries and other items. Officials said that 65 percent of the solid waste is recycled. The remaining waste, including food, is incinerated.
Councilmembers said they were impressed with the amount of waste that is treated and reduced aboard the ship.
"With the city, we've been trying to get to no land-filling, no emissions as soon as possible. The ship shows it's technologically possible," Djou said.
Djou said another lesson learned is that the ship is constantly maintaining its systems to keep it in working order.
Djou acknowledges that the city is undertaking these issues on a much larger scale, but "you can do it if you have the functional will."