Cruise ship water-treatment technology under review

What’s the most effective and economically feasible method of curbing water pollution from large tour ships?

Alaska’s Cruise Ship Science Advisory Panel meets in Juneau this week to try to answer that question. Members will also review a preliminary report to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

A membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment plant for installation on board a cruise ship. Courtesy Hamworthy Water Systems.

Rob Edwardson manages DEC’s Cruise Ship Program.

“The report will cover their analysis of the information that they’ve collected for existing and additional systems and methods,” he says.

Lawmakers delayed strict new wastewater discharge limits in 2009 while appointing the panel to consider developing and available technology. Its 11 members represent industry, government, fishing, coastal communities and other interests.

The panel will meet Wednesday and Friday at Juneau’s Goldbelt Hotel. Edwardson says a Thursday session at nearby Centennial Hall will present choices and issues.

“The technology workshop is for members of the public to be able to walk through and look at a number of different displays that detail the history of cruise ships in Alaska, the cruise ship wastewater issues and the panel’s work from the past two years,” Edwardson says.

The panel’s final report is due in 2015. Meanwhile, the Department of Environmental Conservation is developing a new permit for cruise ships that discharge wastewater within state maritime boundaries.

Click here to read the meeting agenda.

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