Ballast Water Monitoring kit
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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.
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.
An IMO convention “for the control and management of ballast water” (the Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention) was adopted in February 2004 for implementation 12 months after ratification by at least 30 states representing at least 35% of the overall tonnage of the global commercial fleet. This legislation is supported and has been largely applied by the United States Coast Guard (USCG 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). The IMO’s BWM convention is expected to go into effect in 2016 or 2017.
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).
|Plankton or other organisms, larger than 50 µm||Less than 10 viable organisms / m³|
|Plankton, 10-50 µm||Less than 10 viable organisms / mL|
|Bacteria, Vibrio cholerae||Less than 1 colony-forming units / 100 mL|
|Bacteria, Escherichia Coli||Less than 250 colony-forming units / 100 mL|
|Bacteria, Intestinal Enterococci||Less than 100 colony-forming units / 100 mL|
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), ATPmetry, 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.
Second generation ATPmetry 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.
Based on our expertise in ATPmetry, aqua-tools I&E has partnered with the SGS laboratory (world leader in analysis and certification) and LuminUltra (manufacturer specializing in ATPmetry) 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.
aqua-tools I&E recommends the BW 2G Refill rapid microbiological analysis kit for:
• Determining whether ballast water complies with regulatory standards before discharge into the ocean;
• Measuring the total biomass of the regulated categories for ballast water (organisms that are larger than 50 µm; between 10 and 50 µm; less than 10 µm);
• Evaluating the effectiveness of ballast water treatment strategies.
• Evaluate ballast water compliance with international regulations (International Maritime Organization, United States Coast Guard);
• Scientific application: rapid evaluation of planktonic biomass in coastal regions or the open sea (effect of pollution).
• Aquaculture: evaluation of the biological quality of the water.