Alfa Lava expands PureBallast BWMS portfolio

AUGUST 29, 2016 — Alfa Laval continues to develop and expand its line of PureBallast ballast water management systems (BWMS). A new skid-mounted PureBallast 3.1/300 Compact will be on display at SMM

USCG officials visit BWMS test lab

AUGUST 16, 2016 — Over 60 manufacturers of ballast water management systems (BWTS) with foreign type-approved are now pursing U.S. type approval by utilizing Coast Guard accepted labs to test their systems

Admiral Paul Thomas blogs on BWMS angst

MAY 18, 2016 — The U.S. insistence on setting its own type approval standards for ballast water management systems has drawn some harsh industry criticism. Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, U.S. Coast Guard

USCG to UV BWMS makers: Prove bugs are dead

The Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Center has informed four manufacturers of ballast water management systems (BWMS) that are based on ultraviolet technology that the Most Probable Number (MPN) test method is not considered an equivalent alternative to the test method prescribed in the Coast Guard regulations on type approval of ballast water systems.

A Coast Guard review has concluded that the MPN test method does not measure the efficacy of the BWMS to the performance standard required by the regulations.

The regulations specifically require ballast water treatment systems to be evaluated based on their ability to kill certain organisms. Since the MPN method assesses the viability of an organism to colonize after treatment, it measures to a different standard than that required by the regulations.

In the Preamble to the Final Rule which implemented the ballast water discharge standard and the procedures for BWMS type-approval, the distinction between live/dead and viable/unviable was evaluated, explicitly discussed and the decision was made to use live/dead as the standard for evaluating the performance of BWMS. Since the MPN method does not measure performance to this standard, it is not an equivalent evaluation or test under the provisions of the regulations.

The Coast Guard says it is aware of other ultraviolet BWMS that are undergoing evaluation using the prescribed tests. As such, the tests required by the regulations and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Technology Verification, or ETV, Protocol are applicable and practicable for the evaluation of all systems.

As with all decisions made under the authority of Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations, this Marine Safety Center ruling is subject to appeal by the manufacturers. The Coast Guard will continue to evaluate this method through the ETV Technical Panel.

Assessing court’s ruling on VGP ballast water requirements

An “action item” alert from law firm Blank Rome sheds some light onto the significance of this decision.

Blank Rome notes that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the issue to the EPA to redraft the ballast water sections of the VGP.

The firm says that “the differences between the VGP ballast water provisions, International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) Ballast Water Management Convention, and U.S. Coast Guard’s ballast water regulations have posed a number of compliance challenges thus far, which may be further exacerbated by possible new VGP requirements. While substantive changes to the VGP ballast provisions, if any, are likely years away, shipowners and operators should be aware, closely monitor, and be prepared to comment on a new draft VGP in the future.”

“Most notably,” says Blank Rome, “the court stated that the EPA failed to adequately explain why stricter technology-based effluent standards should not be applied, failed to give fair and thorough consideration to onshore treatment options, and failed to adequately explain why pre-2009 Lakers were exempted. The court instructed the EPA to reconsider the VGP ballast water provisions in accordance with its ruling. In the meantime, the 2013 VGP will remain in effect.”

“The possibility that the EPA may alter its VGP ballast water provisions does, however, create uncertainty for those striving to comply with both the VGP and U.S. Coast Guard ballast water requirements,” notes Blank Rome. “The U.S. Coast Guard’s ballast water regulations, like the current VGP ballast water requirements, for the most part mirror the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention, though there are some differences. Ship owners and operators have struggled to understand and comply with these overlapping requirements. Any changes to the EPA’s ballast water requirements will require extensive discussion with the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure any new VGP ballast water requirements can co-exist with the U.S. Coast Guard and IMO regimes.

“The ruling does not impact the U.S. Coast Guard’s ballast water management system type approval process. That said, should the EPA create stricter technology-based effluent limitations (TBELs) than the U.S. Coast Guard and IMO standards, it will be even more challenging for vessels to comply with both the U.S. Coast Guard and EPA standards because the systems approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and required to be installed may or may not meet the stricter VGP TBELs. It is also unclear how the EPA would enforce stricter TBELs as the Coast Guard generally conducts the vessel inspections and passes information on possible violations to the EPA.”

Read the full text of the Blank Rome action item HERE

Schulte to retrofit eleven containerships with BWMS

SEPTEMBER 4, 2015 — Under one of the largest ballast water management system (BWMS) retrofit contracts issued thus far, eleven containerships owned by Hamburg, Germany, headquartered Bernhard Schulte GmbH & Co. KG

IMO to review BWMS testing guidelines

OCTOBER 17, 2014 — Shipowners’ organizations are welcoming a decision on Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS) taken at this week’s meeting of IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC). IMO’s Ballast Water Management