Experiencing These Challenges? Here's why.

  • Ballast water discharge is a well-known ecological problem. Essentially, ballast water is released in geographical zones far from where it was originally collected.

    The aquatic organisms that are taken up with the sea water are thereby introduced to a marine ecosystem that is very different from their original environment. Certain exotic, invasive or toxic species may find the new conditions favorable for growth (temperature, nutrients, absence of predators, etc.). The proliferation of these species in their new environment can have a lasting impact on the native flora and fauna. In many cases, there have been irreversible damages to the environment (decreased biodiversity, disappearance of vulnerable species, introduction of an invasive species to an ecology, etc.). The introduction of foreign species can also have an economic impact, such as the loss of aquaculture or fishing productivity, or even a health impact due to the consumption of contaminated fish or seafood (infection with Dinophyceae protozoa, cholera epidemics caused by Vibrio cholera bacteria).

  • The international maritime authorities (IMO – International Maritime Organization) have instituted measures to limit the ecological, economic and health risks of ballast water discharge.

    The IMO’s convention “for the control and management of ballast water” (the Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention) entered into force on 9 September 2017. As of that date, the treaty has been ratified by more than 60 countries, representing more than 70% of world merchant shipping tonnage. This legislation is supported and has been largely applied by the USCG (United States Coast Guard 46 CFR 162.060). France added several provisions in 2006 (articles L. 218-82 to L. 218-86 of the environmental Code) and adopted this convention in 2008 (Regulation n° 2008-476 of May 22, 2008)

    Quality standards for discharged ballast water have already been set. These standards define the permitted levels of the following organisms in discharged ballast water:

    • planktonic micro-organisms: organisms greater than 50 µm in size (most often zooplankton) and organisms between 10 and 50 µm in size (most often phytoplankton);
    • bacteria (less than 10 µm in size): Vibrio cholera (the toxic and infectious serotypes O1 and O139), Escherichia coli and intestinal Enterococci (species that indicate fecal contamination).
  • Ships are required to physically or chemically treat ballast water regularly to kill any micro-organisms using certified technologies (that pose no risk to the environment) in order to comply with ballast water discharge standards.

    Several methods can be used to determine the quality of untreated ballast water or to confirm the effectiveness of different treatment systems, including: fluorometric measurement of chlorophyll, culture-based methods, flow cytometry, quantification of esterase activity, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), ATP, etc. Many of these methods are difficult to use on site for a variety of reasons, including: complicated implementation requiring a laboratory or specialized skills, prohibitive cost, results that do not provide adequate information to ensure compliance with standards, etc.
    2nd Generation ATP provides many advantages for water quality analysis, but it must be optimized and adapted for use with ballast water, to specifically account for:

    • increased salt concentrations;
    • the biodiversity of marine plankton;
    • the necessity of obtaining reliable results that guarantee compliance with regulatory standards.

The aquatic organisms that are taken up with the sea water are thereby introduced to a marine ecosystem that is very different from their original environment. Certain exotic, invasive or toxic species may find the new conditions favorable for growth (temperature, nutrients, absence of predators, etc.). The proliferation of these species in their new environment can have a lasting impact on the native flora and fauna. In many cases, there have been irreversible damages to the environment (decreased biodiversity, disappearance of vulnerable species, introduction of an invasive species to an ecology, etc.). The introduction of foreign species can also have an economic impact, such as the loss of aquaculture or fishing productivity, or even a health impact due to the consumption of contaminated fish or seafood (infection with Dinophyceae protozoa, cholera epidemics caused by Vibrio cholera bacteria).

The IMO’s convention “for the control and management of ballast water” (the Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention) entered into force on 9 September 2017. As of that date, the treaty has been ratified by more than 60 countries, representing more than 70% of world merchant shipping tonnage. This legislation is supported and has been largely applied by the USCG (United States Coast Guard 46 CFR 162.060). France added several provisions in 2006 (articles L. 218-82 to L. 218-86 of the environmental Code) and adopted this convention in 2008 (Regulation n° 2008-476 of May 22, 2008)

Quality standards for discharged ballast water have already been set. These standards define the permitted levels of the following organisms in discharged ballast water:

  • planktonic micro-organisms: organisms greater than 50 µm in size (most often zooplankton) and organisms between 10 and 50 µm in size (most often phytoplankton);
  • bacteria (less than 10 µm in size): Vibrio cholera (the toxic and infectious serotypes O1 and O139), Escherichia coli and intestinal Enterococci (species that indicate fecal contamination).

Several methods can be used to determine the quality of untreated ballast water or to confirm the effectiveness of different treatment systems, including: fluorometric measurement of chlorophyll, culture-based methods, flow cytometry, quantification of esterase activity, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), ATP, etc. Many of these methods are difficult to use on site for a variety of reasons, including: complicated implementation requiring a laboratory or specialized skills, prohibitive cost, results that do not provide adequate information to ensure compliance with standards, etc.
2nd Generation ATP provides many advantages for water quality analysis, but it must be optimized and adapted for use with ballast water, to specifically account for:

  • increased salt concentrations;
  • the biodiversity of marine plankton;
  • the necessity of obtaining reliable results that guarantee compliance with regulatory standards.

How can 2nd Generation ATP® monitoring help to mitigate these challenges?

To ensure optimal seaworthiness, many cargo ships and merchant ships these days are equipped with high capacity reservoirs in the hull (or double hull) for taking on large volumes of ocean water. The amount of this water, known as ballast, can be altered (by pumping or draining) depending on the weight of the load. Ballast enhances the stability and balance of a boat, whether it is empty, fully loaded or unequally loaded. Using ballast provides a major economic advantage because it enables the maximum amount of cargo to be transported while maintaining optimal buoyancy and seaworthiness, and therefore optimizes both speed and fuel consumption.

We have developed a test kit for ballast water to verify that it conforms to international maritime regulations.

Using 2nd Generation ATP® to confirm water quality compliance

Based on our expertise in ATP test, we have partnered with the SGS laboratory (world leader in analysis and certification) to develop a complete solution for ballast water diagnostics, including:

  • an extraction method (ATPREP Beads Extraction) that ensures complete extraction of the cellular ATP present in marine organisms, including those protected by a mineral shell, a rigid exoskeleton or a tough outer wall (crustaceans, diatoms, microalgae, etc.).
  • a second generation microbiological analysis kit (BW 2G Refill) designed to detect ATP in high-salt samples (up to 300‰ NaCl or 300 PSU (Practical Salinity Units)) and equipped with a two-membrane microfiltration system (50 µm or 10 µm pore size) to separate organisms by size category (greater than 50 µm; between 10 and 50 µm; less than 10 µm).
  • a certified standard protocol enabling the user to determine within 12 minutes whether ballast water (treated or untreated) complies with ballast water standards.

Recommended Test Kit

B-Qua

The B-QUA kit was developed and scientifically validated to indicate the number of living organisms in ballast water. It can be used on board of vessels and to provide clear indications of compliance or non-compliance with the discharge regulations regarding international standards as IMO and USCG. This new method is a part of the ballast water management plan. The ballast water kit provides materials to perform 100 analyses for each fraction: zooplankton (≥50µm), phytoplankton (≥10-<50µm) and bacteria.

 

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