Hydroxide stabilization as a new tool for ballast disinfection: Efficacy of treatment on zooplankton

Management of Biological Invasions
By: , and 



Effective and economical tools are needed for treating ship ballast to meet new regulatory requirements designed to reduce the introduction of invasive aquatic species from ship traffic. We tested the efficacy of hydroxide stabilization as a ballast disinfection tool in replicated, sequential field trials on board the M/V Ranger III in waters of Lake Superior. Ballast water was introduced into each of four identical 1,320 L stainless steel tanks during a simulated ballasting operation. Two tanks were treated with NaOH to elevate the pH to 11.7 and the remaining two tanks were held as controls without pH alteration. After retention on board for 14–18 h, CO2-rich gas recovered from one of two diesel propulsion engines was sparged into tanks treated with NaOH for 2 h to force conversion of NaOH ultimately to sodium bicarbonate, thereby lowering pH to about 7.1. Prior to gas sparging, the engine exhaust was treated by a unique catalytic converter/wet scrubber process train to remove unwanted combustion byproducts and to provide cooling. The contents of each tank were then drained and filtered through 35-µm mesh plankton nets to collect all zooplankton. The composition and relative survival of zooplankton in each tank were evaluated by microscopy. Zooplankton populations were dominated by rotifers, but copepods and cladocerans were also observed. Hydroxide stabilization was 100% effective in killing all zooplankton present at the start of the tests. Our results suggest hydroxide stabilization has potential to be an effective and practical tool to disinfect ship ballast. Further, using CO2 released from the ship engine reduces emissions and the neutralized by product, sodium bicarbonate, can have beneficial impacts on the aquatic environment.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Hydroxide stabilization as a new tool for ballast disinfection: Efficacy of treatment on zooplankton
Series title Management of Biological Invasions
DOI 10.3391/mbi.2015.6.3.05
Volume 6
Issue 3
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher REABIC
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 12 p.
First page 263
Last page 275
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Laurentian Great Lakes
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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