Coast Guard Amending Regulations on Ballast Water

By KBJR News 1

Petty Officer 3rd Class Kent-Erik Hedberg, Marine Safety Detachment Massena peers through a refractometer at a sample of ballast water from the motor vessel Eider, in Montreal, June 3, 2008. The U.S. Coast Guard inspects all vessels' ballast water before they enter the Great Lakes to prevent invasive species inhabiting ecosystems. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class William B. Mitchell.

March 16, 2012 Updated Oct 16, 2013 at 9:04 AM CDT

Cleveland, Ohio (Northland's NewsCenter) --- In the continuing fight to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes, the U.S. Coast Guard recently released new regulations on ships coming through the St. Lawrence Seaway that carry ballast water.

The Coast Guard will now limit the concentration of living organisms in ballast water discharged from ships in waters of the United States.

The Coast Guard is also amending its regulations for engineering equipment by setting up an approval process for ballast water management systems.

These are the strictest rules that the Coast Guard can enact at this time in order to keep invasive species out of our waters.

Once all vessels have been equipped with ballast water treatment systems, ballast tanks will still need to be fully exchanged or flushed with seawater.

Ballast water is the water that ships take into their ballast tanks in order to maintain stability while out on the water. Vessels coming into the Great Lakes usually contain ballast water from the ocean which include organisms that are harmful to the Great Lakes ecosystem. When these vessels dock in the Great Lakes, the ballast water from the ocean is discharged into our lakes along with the invasive organisms.

In recent years, many organizations such as Transport Canada, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. and Canadian Seaway Corporations have all been working together to stop organisms in ballast water from entering into Northern American waterways.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns