California SLC Recommends Delay BWT Standards
Thursday, July 04, 2013

The California State Lands Commission's (SLC) report '2013 Assessment of the Efficacy, Availability, and Environmental Impacts of Ballast Water Treatment Systems for Use in California Waters' concludes that no shipboard ballast water treatment systems are currently available to meet all of California’s performance standards for the discharge of ballast water.

Commission staff reviewed 75 shipboard ballast water treatment systems for this analysis, however, significant limitations in the existing data hamper the ability of Commission staff to determine if shipboard ballast water treatment systems are available to meet California’s performance standards. Existing data for the 10 – 50 micron organism size class are not yet sensitive enough to confirm if California’s performance standards are being reached, however it is clear that many systems are failing to meet this standard.

No data are available to determine if California’s viral standards can be met. Data for the remaining organism size classes (organisms greater than 50 microns in size, human health indicator species, and total bacteria) range in reliability in demonstrating the ability, under limited testing scenarios, to meet California’s standards. Therefore, the Commission concludes that no shipboard ballast water treatment systems are currently available to meet all of California’s performance standards for the discharge of ballast water.

In light of the lack of currently available options for discharging vessels to comply with California’s performance standards for the discharge of ballast water, the Commission recommends that the California Legislature amend Public Resources Code section 71205.3 to delay implementation of the standards until such time that technologies can be deemed available to meet the standards.

This delay is an adaptive approach to the implementation of California’s performance standards which will provide time for data to be collected on shipboard treatment system installation and performance and for the shore-based feasibility study to be completed while continuing to move the state towards


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