An Overview of Ballast Water Treatment System and Its Working Principles

Blog | January 24th, 2023

Professionals onboard large ships often ensure that they can carry out their duties. These duties include transporting cargo, delivering goods for clients to various locations, and carrying out other tasks delegated by their respective companies. But one vital duty that people managing marine vessels must carry out is to leave a minimal impact on the surroundings, especially during their trips across the globe.

You see, transport and marine vessels have to traverse from one point to another. Since the water conditions of these places may vary, the vessels may take in water elements from one place and release them to another, causing ecological issues along the way.

Ballast Water Treatment System as the Solution

To make sure that this specific issue would not happen, the International Marine Organization adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments in the early 2000s. This Convention aims to mitigate the spread of invasive aquatic species from one area to another by pushing the shipping industry to adopt elements that can treat their ballast water.

Ballast water is fresh or saltwater that is stored in the ballast tanks and cargo holds of marine and transport vessels. It is intended to give ships manoeuvrability and stability during their voyage, especially if they carry a minimal amount to zero cargo. This water can also help stabilise the said vessels when traversing rough seas as well as add weight.

Given the importance of ballast water, ships should not leave the port without it. They must, however, be equipped with a reliable ballast water treatment system to prevent environmental issues that can only affect the whole marine and shipping industry.

How Does Ballast Water Treatment System Work

Most ballast water treatment systems that are being maximised by the marine and shipping industry today do not stick with one set of filtration, disinfection, and other mechanisms. They usually mix a wide array of these things so they can become effective.

• Chemical Disinfection: Ballast water treatment systems often use biocides as part of their disinfection function. Biocides help these systems inactivate microorganisms often found in the ballast water. The water treated by biocides, however, should still be neutralised or detoxified before it can be taken out of the ballast tank.

• UV Treatment: Some systems, alternatively, use ultraviolet lamps to effectively prevent organisms in the ballast water from reproducing. These lamps are effective in deterring microorganisms from thriving and growing once released again into the general water. The success of this treatment, however, depends on the filtration system that precedes it.

• Deoxygenation: Deoxygenation helps kill any living organisms found in the ballast water. It is done by injecting an inert gas like nitrogen into the ballast tank or the ballast flow, ensuring that any organisms will be asphyxiated.

• Heat Treatment: Heat treatment is also a process that can kill organisms in the water. It can be done by heating the ballast water in the tank. It can also be done by running the water past the engine of the marine vessel.

• Ultrasonic Treatment: Ultrasonic treatment uses high-energy ultrasound to kill organisms in the ballast water. It breaks down the cell walls of the organisms so they can be eliminated conveniently. It is preferred by many as it is non-chemical and low maintenance.

If you need to acquire a ballast water treatment system for your transport, you can contact us at Wildon Engineering. We offer this system from Mitsubishi as it is known to be effective in freshwater, brackish water, and sweater. It also does not use chemicals.

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