Southern Belle paddles with environmental tide

Southern Belle paddles with environmental tide

July 10th, 2010 by Ellis Smith in Green

* What: The Passenger Vessel Association recognized the Chattanooga Riverboat Co. for operating a vessel that conserves, protects and preserves the natural environment, according to general manager Joy Reinert.

* Companies: The Chattanooga Riverboat Co. operates the Southern Belle, which seats 342 passengers on river cruises up to four hours long.

* Location: The pier is underneath the Olgiati Bridge.

* How's it green: Chief engineer Tony Bolander has implemented a closed crank case system that recycles oil back into the crank case, while hot gasses and fumes are burned in the intake. He has installed diapers under each engine to catch leaks, and doesn't discharge the bilge into the river. Instead, all petroleum products are captured and taken to shore to be recycled. The staff has installed LED and compact fluorescent lights where practical, and uses low or no flush toilets that work with river water instead of chlorinated water. Waste is collected in a tank and pumped into the city sewer system. Metal, wood and paper are recycled. At dock, air conditioning is not used unless a room is occupied.

* Plans for expanding: The company is looking at investing in additional low- and no-flush toilets, waterless urinals on the boat and pier, and installing additional LED lighting as prices come down.

* Is this an essential part of the business focus and why? "We take pride in being as green as we can, we had some initial expense but the payoff in the future is worth it," Mr. Bolander said.

* Advice for others: The easiest green changes to implement are low-flush toilets, single-ply toilet paper and keeping the engines turned off and tuned up.

Captain Mike Card explains the efforts the crew has taken to help the environment.