Ballast Water Treatment Technologies are Urgently Needed

Since the Ballast Water Treatment Convention of 2004, shipping companies have been searching for effective ballast water treatment technologies. With ramped up regulations taking effect September 8, 2017, merchant companies are scrambling to outfit their vessels with effective technologies to eradicate all harmful contaminants in their ballast water.

There are basically three approaches for controlling the pollution of ships’ ballast water; mechanical, chemical or physical. While the mechanical methods of filtration and separation may have been adequate under previous regulations allowing ships to exchange ballast water mid-ocean, they are not effective at destroying harmful bacteria or organisms that are naked to the human eye. Not to mention the potential dangers to a ship and crew if conditions do not allow exchanging ballast water during high seas. Chemical treatments involving biocides or chlorination can be effective, but they may also cause corrosion of equipment and leave harmful chemicals in the water thus requiring dichlorination at port.

Of the physical methods, using ozone or UV radiation for eradicating harmful germicides, UV radiation has the clear advantage. Ozone may be effective, but it is difficult to outfit an effective ballast water treatment method in compact space. With UV exposure, there are no chemicals to purchase or to worry about maintaining adequate levels, and no need to purify the chemicals for fear of discharging harmful pollutants into the ocean, exactly what the Convention is aiming to prevent. UV radiation has become the most popular, low maintenance and proven superior ballast water treatment technology.

Hazards of Ships Ballast Water

The complications caused from contaminated ballast water have been recognized as one of the greatest threat to the world’s oceans. The transfer of invasive species can decimate shipping and tourism industries, destroying the way of life for people depending upon those industries. When a ship picks up ballast water in one port, to balance the ship when unloading cargo, then discharges the ballast in another region, they also transfer harmful bacteria, viruses, and aquatic organisms such as jellyfish, mussels, crabs and clams. Once these marine life forms take hold and establish in a new location, they are impossible to eradicate. In most instances, they are well controlled in the environment they originated from, but once introduced to a new location they may flourish without natural predators to control them.

This is the case in the Black and Caspian Seas, where crown jellyfish arriving in merchant ships’ ballast water from the Atlantic Ocean, have all but left the fishing ports deserted, and the people in poverty. Mussels have been found in many areas around the world, also moved in ballast water, where they are establishing a predatory presence by attaching themselves to equipment used in dams and power plants, threatening the health of all human inhabitants inland. The spread of disease by these pesky hitchhikers has been deadly to marine and human life, causing the United Nations, and their subgroup, the IMO (International Maritime Organization) to take action.

New Regulations for Ballast Water Treatment Convention

The IMO and the MEPC (Marine Environment Protection Committee) have been working to educate merchant shipping companies on the danger of contaminated ballast water. The original Ballast Water Treatment Convention was established in 2004, with the stipulation that once 35% of all member States representing shipping amount in tons agree, ratification would ramp up new regulations. With Finland’s accession to the treaty on September 8, 2016, all ships are required to adhere to the ramped up regulations within 12 months, or September 8, 2017. The new regulations stipulate that each vessel be required to manage their ballast water on board with an effective ballast water treatment method.

Ballast Water Treatment Technologies from the Experts at LightSources

UV radiation has been proven as most effective for eradicating any threatening invasive species, with no costs for continuous chemical treatment, and no risk of discharging hazardous chemicals. LightSources has partnered with some of the largest providers of ballast water treatment systems utilizing UV radiation with great success. Our lamps use the most effective UVT wavelength, which promotes maximum absorption by the water, eliminating all forms of harmful invasive species. Our proprietary and patented technology is a result of our continual investment into research and development, making LightSources experts in all UV germicidal applications.

Our standard Low Pressure (LP) Amalgam lamps are proven extremely effective in germicidal applications, possessing a small footprint, with low maintenance and long lasting life of bulbs. Our Medium Pressure UV (MPUV) lamps have an even smaller footprint and are popular in smaller ships, while emitting the same effective UV radiation.

UV Germicidal Lamps
UV Germicidal Applications

LightSources and our affiliated companies represent the leading high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today. Our standard lamps and components as well as customized products offer high-quality solutions to meet our partner’s unique needs. Contact us today to speak to one of our expert engineers for assistance with planning and designing your approved system using the most effective ballast water treatment technologies.

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