ballast water treatment

Why ballast water treatment?

As you look into ballast water treatment solutions, the word “compliance” is one you’ll come across in one form or another. It’s a little word, but it’s a bigger concept – and it concerns some big obligations for ballast water treatment systems and you.

  • Ballast water management or treatment
  • Which regulations applies
  • Type approval isn´t compliance
  • Making sure you stay compliant
  • Legislation requires regularly actions

Ballast water management or Ballast water treatment

Compliance means fulfilling a requirement or a set of rules – in this case, the regulations that govern ballast water management (BWM). ​The strategy for ballast water management is ballast water treatment (BWT) - which neutralizes organisms in the water. ​Ballast water management is a larger concept that includes alternative measures like ballast water exchange. ​You might see ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) referred to as ballast water management systems (BWMS).​

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Which regulations apply?

The regulations explain when, where and how ballast water treatment should occur. There are two sets to have in focus, depending on where your vessel sails:


The IMO Ballast Water Management Convention

This is the global legislation that sets the rules for ballast water treatment in around 95% of the world’s ports. [Its full name is the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments] In addition, On 28 October 2020, the IMO revised G8 guidelines (the BMWS Code) for type approving ballast water treatment systems went into effect.


The U.S. Coast Guard Ballast Water Discharge Final Rule

Known more simply as the USCG Final Rule, this is the ballast water treatment legislation that applies when sailing in United States waters. Its requirements are similar to – but slightly different from – those in the IMO BWM Convention. Some specific rules may apply in certain regions or ports, but the regulations above guide nearly all ballast water treatment decisions.

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Type approval isn´t compliance

The IMO BWM Convention and the USCG Final Rule each define a process for type approving ballast water treatment systems. In other words, they state the technical requirements that a system must meet in order to comply. However, a type approval is only a condition for compliance. The type approval states that the system design has been shown capable of meeting the requirements. It doesn’t prove that an individual system will meet the requirements. Your specific system and its installation on your vessel must be approved by a classification society – and even that isn’t the whole story.


Make sure you stay compliant

Once you have a type-approved ballast water treatment system on board and its installation is approved by a classification society, your vessel is ready to comply. However, you have to be ready too. In order to be and stay compliant, your ballast water treatment system has to be operated and maintained according to the regulations – and your supplier’s specifications. If the crew uses the system incorrectly, or if it isn’t kept in proper condition, its type approval won’t protect you from fines or other consequences.

The legislation requires regularly actions

Compliance is never a one-time thing. You have to keep at it over time.

  • Crew training
  • Maintenance
  • Calibration
  • Water sampling


Compliance with Alfa Laval PureBallast 3

Here’s a quick overview of the ways Alfa Laval’s ballast water treatment solution can help you comply

Type approvals

Type approvals All PureBallast 3 systems are type approved for compliance with:

  • The IMO BWM Convention and the BMWS Code (Revised G8)
  • The USCG Final Rule

Installation and class approval

Alfa Laval can help ensure proper installation and problem-free class approval through:

  • Many years of experience
  • Well-trained engineering partners
  • Installation supervision
  • Cooperation with all major classification societies

Long term compliance

To simplify ongoing compliance, Alfa Laval offers:

  • A global service network for 24/7 assistance with any compliance issue
  • The PureBallast Compliance Service Package, which lets Alfa Laval experts take responsibility for annual service actions and crew training – so that you don’t have to

What comes after your decision? Don’t forget the next steps

Selecting a ballast water treatment system is the first step, but you still have to get it on board. And to meet the regulations, your crew must be trained to use it. Those steps should also be part of your choice.

  • A strong supply and logistics network will ensure you get your system on time.
  • An experienced supplier can ensure the engineering is correct, plus oversee installation and handle commissioning – to save you costly mistakes and the risk of non-compliance.
  • A serious supplier will put time and resources into giving you the knowledge you need.
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Ballast water regulation

As you look into ballast water treatment solutions, the word “compliance” is one you’ll come across in one form or another. It’s a little word, but it’s a bigger concept – and it concerns some major obligations for ballast water treatment systems and you.

  • Service and maintain your system according to suppliers specification
  • Crew training
  • Calibration
  • Water sampling

Compliance is never a one-time thing. You have to keep at it over time.

Read the regulation

Looking for more helpful content?

Check out the ballast water treatment resource center.