Ballast water standards committee welcomes U of Georgia ecology professor

Sponsored by

ATHENS, GA, May 13, 2010 -- Jeb Byers, associate professor in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, has been appointed to the National Research Council's Committee on Assessing Numeric Limits for Living Organisms in Ballast Water.

The committee will conduct a study to inform the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard how to establish environmentally protective ballast water discharge limits in the next Vessel General Permit, which regulates discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels.

Many ships carry salt or fresh water in their cargo holds to provide stability during transit, and this ballast water often contains living organisms. These are discharged, along with the water, when the ships enter port, introducing often-invasive non-indigenous species (NIS) to water bodies.

Byers explained that this causes serious problems for aquatic ecosystems around the world.

"The best way to describe it is biological pollution," Byers said. "If it was oil being discharged from these ships, people would be up in arms. But the biological organisms discharged in the ballast water in some ways can cause more damage, because if they establish populations they create a chronic, persistent problem. Ports around the world have major problems due to discharges from ballast water.

"For example, San Francisco Bay is overrun by NIS. There are 300 non-native aquatic species in San Francisco Bay, making up ninety to ninety-five percent of the Bay's biomass. Ballast water was the major source for introducing these species."

The EPA and the Coast Guard are seeking to establish ballast water discharge limits that will safeguard against the establishment of new aquatic NIS and protect existing indigenous populations of fish, shellfish and wildlife. The NRC appointed the multi-disciplinary Committee on Assessing Numeric Limits for Living Organisms in Ballast Water, made up of nine experts, to help inform their efforts.

The committee will evaluate various approaches to assessing the risk of establishment of aquatic NIS given certain concentrations of living organisms in ballast water discharges. They will recommend how these approaches can be used by regulatory agencies to best inform risk management decisions on the allowable concentrations of living organisms in discharged ballast water. Finally, they will evaluate the risk of successful establishment of new aquatic NIS associated with a variety of ballast water discharge limits that have been used or suggested by the international community and/or domestic regulatory agencies.

The study will cover estuarine and freshwater systems, including the Great Lakes and other inland navigable waters, as well as the waters of the three-mile territorial sea. The committee will issue its report in mid-2011.

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

OCWD acquires turf removal rebate for water conservation amid drought

Amid ongoing drought in California, the Orange County Water District is striving to use water more efficiently and is exploring opportunities to increase water conservation.

MA public water systems earn prestigious awards for superior performance

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection announced that the City of Gloucester, City of Lynn and Town of Sturbridge public water systems have received awards for recent achievements and superior performance in 2014.

ACE15: Professional sessions to encompass Total Water Solutions

In preparation of its Annual Conference & Exposition, American Water Works Association and its local section partner, the California-Nevada Section, have compiled a professional program focusing on Total Water Solutions to address the changing needs of the global water community.

ADS receives 'Above and Beyond' award from Ohio National Guard

The Ohio Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve recently announced that it has awarded its 'Above and Beyond' award to Advanced Drainage Systems.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA