What Does It Mean To Be Earth Friendly?
What it means to us is to have minimal impact on the environment while enjoying the luxury our resort offers. In addition to the more obvious natural resources commonly included in conservation programs, we are particularly aware of the sensitive nature of the world renowned coral reef surrounding the island of Roatan. This is a treasure that is not easily restored once damaged, so we have designed our resort and systems to have zero negative impact. Here are a few of the things that we are doing:
1) Sewage Treatment
Our septic system is the most advanced system on the island and one that few systems in Latin America or the Caribbean equal. The goal is to emit zero toxins into the environment, with particular emphasis on the ocean and the reef. It is an advanced aerobic system, which basically means that we use beneficial bacteria and an aeration system (to provide oxygen to the bacteria) to consume the solid waste. Once this is done the effluent is pumped into a drain field at the back of the property (away from the ocean) into a specially designed drain field, sealed from ground water, where the plants in a special garden consume the phosphates and nitrates. The effluent, which is substantially pure water at this point, is then collected again and fed into our sealed irrigation system, which waters our landscaping through drip emitters. The water then percolates into the sand, where it is filtered one final time before reaching the ground water.
Here is the explanation given by Vernon Albert, our water specialist for the resort:
"Infinity Bay has 63 waste water cleansing tanks. Each tank is equipped with multiple Pirana Aerobic treatment systems. We have applied multiple 3 tank treatment units (3 tanks per building) to break down the Black and Grey water to a very high quality effluent. We have currently 20 sewer plants on the property. There are two reasons that we have multiple wastewater processing stations. The first reason is that if there is an issue with one system then there will be no problems with the quality of the end effluent due to the fact that it is being diluted by the other healthy systems. The second reason is that we do not have to worry about raw sewage leaking from long runs of sewer line. Our effluent is considered clean enough for standard discharge into a septic drain field after the first stage of treatment and we still have 3 stages of treatment to go. Infinity Bay has a wastewater system that is based on multiple technologies. First we start out with over-sized wastewater tanks and ample Pirana bacterial units. Then we recirculate the clear and odorless effluent through a series of shallow plant beds and micro aeration systems. The plant beds are double lined (sealed) with non-toxic polyethylene (the same liner used for ponds), which will not allow the effluent to reach the soil and get into the ground water. This process converts remaining ammonias to nitrates and then the plant roots remove a majority, if not all of the nitrates. In the sealed plant bed process the plant roots emit sugars, enzymes and other substances to encourage microbial growth that help to reduce or totally remove all harmful pathogens."
"Our wastewater tests show no traces of ammonia, nitrates, E-Coli or fecal coliform. At this point the effluent would considered clean enough for direct discharge into a drain field but Infinity Bay instead directs it to a 50,000 gallon holding tank with an ozone sparg to disinfect and oxidize the remaining suspended solids so they can be filtered out. Once the effluent has reached below a 30 micro particle, the water is run though an ultra violate light to completely sterilize it prior to being used as drip irrigation. This unique waste water process allows Infinity Bay to completely process all of it's sewage on site which takes the burden off of the municipality's infrastructure. This is a real win-win for the Island and Honduras."
Of course, technology is a huge part of the system, but the other thing that makes it work is the huge capacity. Each building has an oversized septic tank so that even at maximum guest capacity, there is enough volume capacity to allow the bacteria to work prior to discharging the effluent. One side benefit of this system is that you never smell sewage at Infinity Bay because it's a completely sealed system.
2) Water Treatment
We are proud to be one of the few resorts in the Caribbean with absolutely pure water dispensed from all of the taps in every unit. That means you can drink right out of the kitchen or bathroom faucet and even the shower. Using our highly advanced reverse-osmosis water purification system, we are able to completely purify as many as 70,000 gallons of water per day. Our primary source of water is the collection of rain water into our underground cisterns, which have a capacity of over 1,000,000 gallons. During prolonged dry periods, we purify well water through the RO system.
3) Solar Water Heating
With the completion of Phase II we will be installing solar assisted water heating in order to save energy. All of the Phase I and Phase II buildings are plumbed for this utility and are solar ready. Obviously this will save electricity, which is produced via diesel generation on the island (as with nearly all islands).
4) Erosion Control
During all phases of construction it is critical that red clay be contained during excavations. Simple and common erosion control techniques are employed to prevent red clay from reaching the ocean.
5) Green Housekeeping Practices
We employ many of the housekeeping procedures common to modern "green" hotels, such as encouraging guests to reuse towels and to change linens only when necessary in order to reduce water consumption and waste. In addition, we do not use bleach in our laundry, but rather soaps that are environmentally friendly and biodegradeable.
6) Energy Efficient Air Conditioning Systems
Our buildings are constructed to maximize the "R" value in order to use as little energy cooling as possible. Our solid concrete construction offers great efficiency as well as noise reduction. Additionally, all of our guest rooms have "smart" sensors that turn off lights and ventilation when the villa is unoccupied.
We have invested heavily in energy efficient and earth friendly technologies in order to offer yours and our grandchildren and great grandchildren the opportunity to experience the incredible beauty of Roatan and the surrounding coral reef. We encourage all of our guests to be conscious of the ecosystem that we enjoy so that they can appreciate it's beauty and preserve it for future guests.