How does ballast water affect invasive species?
Ballast water, which helps keep vessels stable in the water, can accidentally introduce and spread aquatic invasive species, like the zebra mussel, if released in the water untreated.
What is ballast water and how does it contribute to the spread of exotic species?
The dispersal of invasive species by ballast water refers to the unintentional introduction of invasive species to new habitats via the ballast water carried by commercial shipping vessels. Ballast water spreads an estimated 7000 living species to new habitats across the globe.
How is ballast water treated?
There are three approaches to treating ballast water; mechanical, physical or chemical. Mechanical methods would include separation and filtration; physical methods include ozone, electrical currents, or UV radiation, while chemical solutions are biocides or a form of chlorination.
What invasive species arrived in the US in 1988 from ballast water on ships?
Zebra mussels are an invasive, fingernail-sized mollusk that is native to fresh waters in Eurasia. Their name comes from the dark, zig-zagged stripes on each shell. Zebra mussels probably arrived in the Great Lakes in the 1980s via ballast water that was discharged by large ships from Europe.
Why does untreated ballast water destroy the local ecosystem?
Dealing with Ballast Water It can contain thousands of aquatic microbes, algae and animals, which are then carried across the world’s oceans and released into ecosystems where they are not native. Untreated ballast water released at a ship’s destination could potentially introduce new invasive aquatic species.
What will happen if ballast water not taken in the tanks?
The propeller may not fully immerse in water, affecting the engine efficiency of the ship. The ship may list or trim as the cargo capacity of the ship is not fully reached. The shear and torsion loads on the vessel may increase the stresses on the ship structure, leading to bending moments and slamming.
How does ballast water affect the environment?
Ballast water impacts the environment when the ballast water is discharged and the organisms are released into new environments. If suitable conditions exist in this release environment, these species will survive and reproduce and become invasive species.
What does untreated ballast water destroy the local ecosystem?
Ballast water may be taken onboard by ships for stability and can contain thousands of aquatic or marine microbes, plants and animals, which are then carried across the globe. Untreated ballast water released at the ship’s destination could potentially introduce a new invasive marine species.
How many types of ballast water treatments are there?
Different types of ballast water treatment system. There are 4 different types of ballast water treatment system commonly used.
Why is ballast water treatment required?
From 8 September 2017, ships must manage their ballast water so that aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new location. This will help prevent the spread of invasive species as well as potentially harmful pathogens.
How much do zebra mussels cost to remove?
Maintenance of pipes clogged with zebra mussels costs the power industry up to $60 million per year and temporary shutdowns due to insufficient water flow can cost over $5,000 per hour. The total cost to the United States of the zebra mussel invasion is estimated at $3.1 billion over the next ten years.
What was an invasive species that spread on the ballast tanks of ocean going vessels on the Great Lakes?
Within two years, mussels had spread to all five Great Lakes, likely in ballast water of commercial ships — possibly including lakers — and by attaching to hulls of boats and barges.