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Verifying Compliance with Ballast Water Discharge Regulations

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U.S. and international rules have been proposed to reduce the risks associated with invasive aquatic organisms by requiring that ships' ballast water be treated to kill or remove living organisms and achieve certain standards before being discharged. Enforcing these rules requires verifying when a discharge violates these standards. A preliminary comparison of verification systems indicates that mandatory reporting and inspecting treatment equipment do not provide an acceptable level of confidence and that sampling and analyzing enough ballast water to achieve acceptable confidence is prohibitively costly. The most cost-effective alternative that achieves an acceptable level of confidence involves indirect measures of ballast water using sensors that indicate whether discharge standards are met.
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Keywords: ballast water regulations; enforcement; invasive species

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Environmental Science, University of Maryland, Solomons, Maryland, USA

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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