The gobs of greasy wastewater that amass in the underbellies of the nation’s
coastal guardians are now able to return to their Mediterranean origins due to
the implementation of a new purification system.
Deep inside the ship
bilges – the lower portion of the boat where dirty water collects – the water
used to operate the vessels’ diesel engines accumulate in a form extremely
contaminated by oil and fuel, explained Capt. Yaron Ben-Simon, head of naval
architecture and the marine engineering department at the navy’s Haifa Base. In
the past, the base had to either collect the greasy grime in local tanks and
suck it out on-site for disposal, or ship the tanks on polluting trucks to
remote treatment locations, Ben-Simon told The Jerusalem Post in an interview
Now, however, the navy has invested in its own biological
treatment facility, at the base itself.
“This is a special bio-treatment
facility which separates contamination from wastewater coming out of our ships,”
Ben- Simon said. “The idea is to avoid transportation of oily wastewater coming
out of the bilges.”
After collecting the engine wastewater from many
ships in a single, large tank, the naval treatment site operators then pour a
biological treatment agent into the tank, which cleans the water to the extent
that it may be returned to the sea, according to Ben-Simon. Entirely separated
from the clean water, the contaminants are then sent for proper
While the navy has been studying many such purification options
for several years, the pilot prototype that administrators eventually chose has
been running for about a year. Throughout that year, during which the waters
underwent a series of meticulous quality checks, the pilot facility processed
about 1,000 cubic liters of liquid, Ben-Simon said.
“Now we intend to
continue working with this system,” he added.
Although Ben-Simon could
not say exactly how many ships the system is currently treating, he stressed
that it is purifying the engine wastewater of all vessels at the Haifa
He and his colleagues are now working to bring in bigger tanks and
increasing their treatment abilities, so that they can potentially connect other
bases to the system in the future, he explained.
“It really works well,”