Where does the poop go?: The hidden machines of cruise ships


Where does the poop go?: The hidden machines of cruise ships
  1. Where does the poop go?: The hidden machines of cruise ships
    popsci.com
    Technology Behind the scenes of the life aquatic Cruise ships are entire cities set to sea. To function far from shore, floating burgs like these rely on often-hidden machinery. Read…
    Technology

Cruise ships are entire cities set to sea—the largest ones can carry thousands of people. To function far from shore, floating burgs like these rely on washing machines that swallow hundreds of pounds of sheets, ­water-filtration systems that serve both fresh- and saltwater swimming pools, and an army of aerobic bacteria to eat tanks of poop. This is the often-hidden machinery working behind the scenes on an average mega-liner.

Garbage

Garbage

In the waste-recycling plant, a 50-cubic-foot glass crusher gnashes bottles into pea-size pellets, hydraulics squeeze cardboard and aluminum into blocks, and incinerators burn nonrecyclable refuse. Some ships pulp food waste and tip it overboard as instant fish food.

Water filtration systems

Water

To clean seawater, ships often rely on two main methods. Reverse-osmosis membranes filter out salt, and evaporators use heat from the engine to boil off the fresh H2O. Once liquid goes through one of these processes, it can safely fill onboard swimming pools.

Exhaust scrubbers

Exhaust scrubbers

Exhaust scrubbers are the most innovative machinery on ships today. Before venting, exhaust enters a cylindrical tank. A solution of caustic soda or seawater sprays from all angles to trap toxic sulfur oxides. Then, the solution falls 150 feet into a storage tank.

Food

Food

A single ship can go through 23,000 pounds of flour and 42,000 pineapples (mostly for fruity cocktails) in a year. Ballroom-size freezers store ingredients until mealtime, when waiters deliver grub to 1,000-seat dining rooms via escalators.

Poop, etc.

Poop, etc.

Vacuum suction lines zip toilets’ contents to marine sanitation farms, which siphon out the water, treat it until it’s drinkable, then pump it into the ocean. Helpful aerobic bacteria digest the remaining sludge in storage tanks until it’s all offloaded ashore, about once a month.

Laundry

Laundry

Large-capacity washing machines—which can hold hundreds …

Mega-liner cruise ship
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