An Inside Look at Ballast Water Testing
- The Envirocleanse Monitoring and control Panel for their BWTS.
- Kevin Reynolds of Glosten leads a tour of the Golden Bear and its Coast Guard approved testing facilities.
- The Envirocleanse InTank Ballast Water Treatment System is currently undergoing testing on board the Golden Bear in preparation for submitting documentation to the USCG for eventual approvals.
Seattle, Washington: Last week’s visit to the Pacific Northwest and its impressive waterfront maritime cluster was highlighted by a visit to the Golden Bear, the training ship of the California Maritime Academy. Now on its annual training cruise, the vessel berthed at pier 66 in Seattle, where it also hosted an on board tour of the ship’s ballast water testing facilities.
Kevin Reynolds, Principal at Glosten, led a group of interested stakeholders around the well-kept vessel, explaining the nuances of the testing protocol and the particulars of the BWT system being testing – one which he had a hand in designing. The day provided a rare glimpse into the ballast water treatment testing regime, how that gets done and how long it can take.
- Ballast Water Approvals in Action
The California Maritime Academy has partnered with industry, government and research teams to create this first-of-its-kind testing facilities. The Shipboard Ballast Water Treatment test facility aboard Cal Maritime's 500-foot Training Ship Golden Bear is available year round for testing. Required landside testing is also provided, directly from the Academy’s California campus.
A unique environment for testing ballast water systems, the academy says that the project allows the Golden Bear to function as a "plug-and-test" platform for research teams. Organizations can install their system in a standard 20-foot shipping container, using connection specifications provided by Cal Maritime to access ballast water tanks, electricity, and ancillaries. Ballast Water Treatment technologies can undergo as many as 25 test cycles while installed on board this vessel, which utilizes two ballast tanks (400 tons each) for the testing protocol.
On board and being tested during this voyage was one of the newest entries to the ballast water treatment sweepstakes, the Envirocleanse inTank BWTS. This system utilizes salt water and Electrochemical Activation (ECA) to generate Hypochlorite as the active substance to achieve ballast water discharge standards. Unlike most other systems, the dosing module mixes one tank at a time where ballast water quality is assessed and the generated disinfectant is applied until the target Total Residual Oxidant (TRO) level is reached.
The inTank BWTS does not filter the ballast water on uptake, which is different than most in-line systems. To ensure consistent and effective kill of target organisms and pathogens, the Concentration-Time (CT) treatment approach is utilized. The recirculation capacity enables monitoring and re-dosing to meet the target combination of oxidant dose and hold time. The ability to dose in-tank and re-dose ensures effective treatment regardless of organic and inorganic loads in the ballast water. Those advantages also translate into real operational gains – and profits – because treatment never interferes with port operations, ballasting, deballasting and/or cargo operations.
- Fashionably Late
The Envirocleanse BWTS product is not yet the best known of the 50+ systems that have dipped their toes into the global ballast water treatment game, nor is it the first to hit the market. On the other hand, when the dust shakes out from the testing, certification and production phase of this burgeoning market, it will likely be one of the few to survive.
Anything but new, Envirocleanse LLC is a division of Charter Brokerage LLC, a Berkshire Hathaway company. Charter Brokerage knows its way around the waterfront. A market leader in duty drawback recoveries; import brokerage and freight forwarding services; marine barging both inland US and ocean voyages; and import/export commodities trading, the firm has been interacting with shipping for many years. Beyond that, Berkshire Hathaway, through their ownership of Marmon Water Technologies, also knows water treatment.
According to company officials, the system is expected to achieve USCG approval in the first quarter of next year, with the IMO nod closely to follow. To date, just four BWTS systems have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, all of them ‘in line’ solutions. Hence, Envirocleanse is queuing up to be the first ‘in tank’ treatment approval.
- A Look Ahead
Earlier this year, ABS Regional VP Michael Michaud told listeners at a January BWT conference in Long Beach, CA that it is possible if not very likely that as many as 12 BWT systems in total could be approved by the end of the year. Looking at current numbers at this point in time, that estimate might be a little optimistic, but no doubt additional approvals are in the pipeline now. None will happen without a visit to an official testing facility, such as that set up on the Golden Bear. The Coast Guard has approved a total of five such facilities.
For its part, Envirocleanse looks ahead to U.S. Coast Guard regulatory approvals, having already been commissioned on the Golden Bear testing facility and having been through (and passed) many rounds of testing.
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Joseph Keefe is a 1980 (Deck) graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and lead commentator of MaritimeProfessional.com. Additionally, he is Editor of both Maritime Logistics Professional and MarineNews magazines. He can be reached at [email protected] or at [email protected] MaritimeProfessional.com is the largest business networking site devoted to the marine industry. Each day thousands of industry professionals around the world log on to network, connect, and communicate.