Stricter Ballast Water Discharge Standards Not Practical
The U.S. Coast Guard has announced that technology to achieve a significant improvement in ballast water treatment efficacy, beyond current regulation, cannot be practicably implemented at this time.
The announcement comes with the publication of a review which determined that there isn’t data to demonstrate that ballast water management systems can meet a discharge standard more stringent than the existing performance standards.
Consequently, the Coast Guard has not evaluated whether testing protocols exist which can accurately measure efficacy of treatment against a performance standard more stringent than the existing performance standards.
Therefore, until such time as systems are evaluated by independent laboratories using Coast Guard approved test methods, post-installation operational reliability is analysed and more sensitive test methods are developed, the Coast Guard concluded it is not possible to determine whether technology exists to practicably implement a more stringent standard.
“To best understand the capabilities of technology, the Coast Guard requires credible data from standardized testing performed independently of the developer/manufacturer and under rigorous quality assurance and quality control procedures. Such testing is now in progress under the Coast Guard's type approval program as described in 46 CFR 162.060. To date, no systems have completed the testing and submitted the requisite data to the Coast Guard,” states the review.
“The Coast Guard believes it is more effective and efficient to await the availability of data from the type approval program, rather than enter into a parallel effort to evaluate data from disparate sources over which the Coast Guard has little or no control, or which are not designed to explicitly evaluate the performance of systems against the Coast Guard's discharge standard.
“Furthermore, only after experience with the existing test procedures would it make sense for Coast Guard and others to begin the effort of developing and validating procedures expressly designed to evaluate systems against more stringent standards. Important lessons will be drawn from the experience of implementing the existing procedures and methods that will greatly facilitate the development of procedures for evaluating systems against more stringent standards.”
The practicability review is available here.