Ballast water research will make the world's oceans safer
Dalhousie is about to launch a new ballast water testing facility in the university Aquatron. Trojan UV will be the first user.
Shipping moves over 80% of the world’s commodities and transfers approximately three to five billion tonnes of ballast water internationally each year. Ballast water is carried onboard many different kinds of vessels to help balance the ship’s position and buoyancy, the larger the ship, the larger the volume of ballast water it can carry.
According to the United Nations International Maritime Organization, invasive marine species are one of the four greatest threats to the world’s oceans. Unlike other forms of marine pollution, such as oil spills, where ameliorative action can be taken and from which the environment will eventually recover, the impacts of invasive marine species are most often irreversible.
New international regulations are under development that will require every ship using ballast water to have UN-IMO approved systems to prevent the transfer of invasive marine and aquatic organisms. This requires the development of facilities like Dalhousie's to test these new systems before they can be approved for installation on ships.
Dalhousie University has completed a centre within the Aquatron Laboratory which is capable of testing ballast water treatment systems. The Aquatron’s Ballast Water Facility consists of a piping arrangement which interconnects all of our large tanks. The facility is actually a program offered by the University through the Aquatron Laboratory which matches scientific staff and the new facility to test the clients ballast water treatment system. Trojan UV will be the first client to use the program.
In order to test a client’s ballast water treatment system, Dalhousie has designed a space where the treatment system can be installed just outside of the building. The plumbing is then connected from the building to the treatment system which then allows water to be pumped from any one of Dal's tanks, to the treatment system and then back into any other tank. The system has two sampling stations which allow Dalhousie's scientific staff to collect replicated samples. The system, pumps and valves, are computer controlled with a predesigned sequence of operations, designed to meet UN-IMO standards.
"The Dalhousie aquatron is a wonderful facility for researchers across our region. The new expansion to its tanks now makes it a singular facility in North America for joint university-industry research addressing ballast water as well as other critical marine environmental issues." - Martha Crago, Vice President, Research, Dalhousie University
"Ballast Water is a major contributor to aquatic invasive species which has seen the UN-IMO react with the development of regulations. This has brought about a new industry in building systems to prevent the problem and now we are working with this industry to ensure their systems work to the levels required by the UN-IMO. Given that several Dalhousie Researchers have been researching the impacts of these species and others are working on filter technologies the testing facility really means Dalhousie is doing all it can. It’s not often that we see this kind of all-round effort towards a major environmental issue." - John Batt, Manager of the Aquatron Lab
Aquatron storage unit
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