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Ballast Water Management

Confidence for every call 


Ballast water evacuating a container ship's hull at a dock.

shipping transfers 10 billion tons of ballast water across the oceans every year.


routine inspections ensure that microorganisms don't spread to foreign waters.


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Ballast Water Monitoring Overview


Do you know whether your vessel is in compliance with stringent global ballast water quality standards?

The BWM Convention has set two standards:

The D1 ballast exchange standard, which requires 95% volumetric exchange in open sea.
The D2 discharge standard, which requires a sample contain less than a certain number of organisms per volume.

A treatment system, mitigation measures, training requirements and a designated ballast water management officer is also required by both the IMO and USCG.

Additionally, the USCG requires paperwork to be filed ahead of arrival.


What are the consequences of noncompliance?

2020欧洲杯官方网址in the event that a ship fails to provide appropriate documentation, lacks an adequate bwms, or is found to be in gross non-compliance of exchange or performance standards, the vessel—and its contents—may be held for further inspection. resulting fines, delays and missed deadlines can cost shipping companies and other stakeholders dearly.

What are the consequences of noncompliance?


Avoid compliance testing surprises

2020欧洲杯官方网址bring aboard the same testing instruments and methods trusted by port state authorities.


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What are the different testing methods?

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)

atp detection measures luminescence in the presence of luciferase enzyme from seawater extraction. atp takes less than an hour and shows promise after treatment with highvoltage electricity. devices are portable and affordable, and can be calibrated to detect a certain organism size, or evaluate total viable biomass. however, atp suffers from interference by dissolved metals or the presence of free atp, filtration or dilution may be necessary, and extraction can be time-consuming and complicated for port state control agents.

Fluorescein Diacetate (FDA)

2020欧洲杯官方网址fda is a cell-specific identification method for cellular viability that estimates living planktonic biomass. pulsecounting fda, bulk fda and sytox fda are the three fda methods. fda can evaluate all organism sizes and devices are affordable. however staining can be inconsistent and may not differentiate between viable and dead cells, and the multi-step process is time-consuming, requiring 90 minutes or more.

Pulse Amplitude-Modulation (PAM)

pam measures photosynthetic activity and phytoplankton biomass of chlorophyll in living algae by stimulating species sensitive to light. pam devices deliver results faster (and often more accurately) than atp or fda, and are portable and easy to use with minimal training. however pam devices may be more expensive, they don’t detect non autotrophic organisms, and their accuracy decreases as turbidity rises.

Variable Fluorescence

2020欧洲杯官方网址variable fluorescence measures the presence of active chlorophyll in living systems. results in the ppb range are obtainable in a single step and are available in minutes without filtration.

Pros and Cons of the Method: ATP, FDA, PAM, Variable fluorescence

Why is ballast water regulated?

2020欧洲杯官方网址ballast water provides critical trim and stability, reduces stress on the hull, and optimizes propulsion during sea voyages; the larger the vessel’s capacity, the greater the water exchange it will require to maintain equilibrium through cargo and fuel load changes.

whether on a cruise ship or tanker, bulk carrier or roro ship, ballast tanks are filled and emptied in the organism rich coastal waters at every port of call. as a result, billions of bacteria, algae, microbes and small invertebrates are taken in at one port, carried a great distance, and discharged at another, where they may wreak havoc on local ecosystems, pose public health risks, or economically impact utilities, fisheries, agriculture and tourism.

according to the international maritime organization (imo), an invasive species is introduced into a new ecosystem every nine weeks. mitigation of these invasions—which isn’t always possible—costs stakeholders billions of dollars annually.

Why is ballast water regulated?

Who sets regulations?

preventing the transfer of invasive species across international waters requires the participation and cooperation of many governments and non-governmental organizations, international agencies, and private companies of all sizes.

the international maritime organization (imo), an agency of the united nations tasked with safety, security and environmental stewardship of the shipping industry, has spearheaded worldwide adoption of ballast water management standards with major advancements in 2004 and 2017. individual nations also have their own requirements, such as those set by the united states coast guard, which are often different than those set by imo.

Who sets ballast water regulations?

Watch On-Demand: Ballast Water Expert Panel (60 min)

Preparing for new IMO and USCG regulations? Unsure which methodology provides the best results? Need to find the most efficient testing solution for your money?



2020欧洲杯官方网址during this session, which originally aired march 7. 2019, ty hendrickson, jim harbridge, jeremy lowe of hach, and nick welschmeyer of cal-state moss landing marine laboratories discuss the status of the market, implications of new ballast water regulations, and emerging technologies as they pertain to three major industry segments.

You'll gain valuable insight into driving priorities, and how that informs an ideal testing solution for each community:
Port state/flag state control agents, as they work to interpret and enforce legal limits set by VIDA and MEPC 73
Ship owners and operators, as they work to maintain compliance and ensure treatment efficacy
Ballast water treatment system manufacturers, as they develop alternative BWMS installation strategies

You'll learn about the inspection process, the importance of each step, and the pros and cons of available technologies:
Paperwork requirements
Indicative testing, which demands a balance of performance and simplicity
Definitive testing, which requires accuracy and traceability

You'll understand how variable fluorescence better meets customer needs compared to ATP and cell counting/culturing:
Performance and the impact of false positives and negatives
Test complexity and ease of interpretation, especially by individuals with low-technical backgrounds
Organism coverage
Time to result




Ballast Water Quality Resources

Ballast Water Infographic

Ballast Water Infographic

2020欧洲杯官方网址this colorful, easy to understand visual covers shipping facts, oceanic invasive species, regulatory overlap between imo and uscg, testing methods, consequences of gross non-compliance, and a comparison of indicative testing solutions currently on the market.

Ballast Water Management Indicative Measurement

Ballast Water Management Indicative Measurement
By Jeremy Lowe

this report provides context for the newly adopted ballast water quality regulations, plus summary of sampling technologies and their adequacy for detecting organism size and analyzing bacteria in pursuit of the imo d-2 standard.

Eliminate Confusion in Testing Ballast Water for Invasive Species

Eliminate Confusion in Testing Ballast Water for Invasive Species
By Carolyn Mathas

2020欧洲杯官方网址confusion in ballast water compliance has arisen due to multiple authorities, conflicting regulatory requirements and a range of testing possibilities. learn the advantages and disadvantages of three common testing methods: atp, fda and pam.

Literature Review of the Indicative Ballast Water Analysis Methods

Literature Review of the Indicative Ballast Water Analysis Methods
By Trafi Publications

2020欧洲杯官方网址trafi, the authority responsible for port state control inspections in finland, undertook a study of sampling methods to ensure compliance with the new standards. the study assessed reliability, user-friendliness, time required and operating costs of three recommended methods: pam, atp and frr.


What is the best way to monitor ballast water disinfection compliance?


2020欧洲杯官方网址ballast water sampling consists of an indicative analysis and a detailed analysis. the indicative analysis is a rapid test of ballast water pumped out of a vessel. if the results are within range, a detailed analysis is not required. however, if a ship’s indicative analysis fails to meet the standard, a detailed analysis must be performed in a laboratory. the laboratory results will determine whether further measures will be taken.

Several indicative analysis methods were reviewed for reliability, user-friendliness, time required and operating costs in a study by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency and the Finnish Environment Institute. Their recommendations were for a hand-held device2020欧洲杯官方网址 using ATP, PAM or FRR, which can quickly and reliably indicate the presence of algae, microbes and small invertebrates.



2020欧洲杯官方网址why test for algae?

a single-celled algae was one of the earliest discovered invasive marine species to have been transferred by shipping. in 1903, a tropical algae from the indo-pacific region was found in the cold north sea near denmark, then again six years later near england.

today, 2% of the 5,000 known species of microalgae are considered to be harmful or toxic, causing damage or death to other marine life and even humans. “red tides” on the gulf coasts of florida are reported to occur 10-15 times more frequently than just 50 years ago.


why test for microbes?

notorious bacteria such as cholera are alive and well in countries with poor sanitation, and these bacteria can hitch a ride on shellfish, aquatic plants or small planktonic animals, and be transferred in ballast water to new areas around the world where strains o1 and o139 may contaminate drinking water and infect humans.

Small invertebrates

2020欧洲杯官方网址why test for small invertebrates?

2020欧洲杯官方网址in the early 1980s, the north american comb jellyfish journeyed from the us atlantic coast to the black sea, where it multiplied to the point of accounting for more than 90% of the sea’s total biomass in less than 20 years. in the process, the comb jelly decimated the region’s commercial fishing industry and spread to the caspian, azov, western baltic, and north seas.




What should you look for in a hand-held tool?


rocket-icon ballast water maritime rapid results

Rapid Results

Rapid Results


2020欧洲杯官方网址busy ports need to rapidly process each indicative analysis to service as many vessels as possible.

2020欧洲杯官方网址a good fluorometer can provide results in as little as 3 minutes.

target-icon ballast water maritime rapid results




2020欧洲杯官方网址agents have many demands on their attention at all times— and health, safety and the environment hang in the balance.

2020欧洲杯官方网址easy operation is a safeguard against human error.

handheld-icon ballast water maritime rapid results




2020欧洲杯官方网址maximum efficiency demands a device that's ready for anything. look for a tool that is small, ergonomic, rugged, and equipped with digital communication. long battery life is a plus.




"The most consistant,
cheapest to purchase,
easiest-to-use handheld device
with no filtration steps"

- Trafi Review of Ballast Water Analysis Methods, 2017


Buy the BW680


For routine inspections, choose simple, hand-held tools

for more than 80 years, hach has delivered innovative solutions for accurate water management. our instruments for ballast water management are no exception, offering the rapid results, simplicity and portability port state control agents depend on, along with high sensitivity.

with a hach bw680 or bw700, you can be confident that you're helping prevent the spread of invasive species—and no longer wonder if something slipped by because your testing method didn't detect it.

BW680 Ballast Water Handheld Fluorometer

bw680 ballast water handheld fluorometer

2020欧洲杯官方网址the quickest way to assess ballast water for gross non-compliance of the imo d-2 standard.


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BW700 Ballast Water Validation Kit

2020欧洲杯官方网址bw700 ballast water validation kit

everything you need to assess the risk that a vessel's ballast water is in gross noncompliance of imo discharge standards: handheld fluorometer, pocket colorimeter, refractometer in a sturdy backpack.


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