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SeaCURE® Ballast Water Management System

An introduction into the ballast water treatment industry

 What is ballast water treatment?

​​Ballast water treatment is the process of treating ballast water in order to actively remove, kill and/or inactivate foreign organisms prior to discharge.  Large vessels require thousands of tons of water to ensure stability and maneuverability, and the environmental impact can be considerable. These impacts result from the fact that the ballast water can contain hundreds of different invasive species, many of which can have serious ecological, economic and public health effects if transferred to regions where they are not native. The recognition of these effects has made ballast management increasingly important for protection of the marine environment.

 Why is Ballast water management crucial?

​Every day, an estimated 10,000 marine species are transported around the world in ballast water. This high level of invasive species being transported and discharged into inhabitable waters has called for legal action to take place. International legislators have reacted by implementing new regulations to prevent unnecessary spread of species and ballast. Due to legislator involvement from both national and international level, rules and regulations have become the primary driver behind the ballast water treatment market.

The market is driven by two key regulations: 

IMO: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) launched the Ballast Water Management Convention (also known as the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments) in 2004. It will enter into force 12 months after ratification by 30 States, representing 35% of the world’s merchant shipping tonnage. The convention states that ballast water must be treated (to specific standards) before it’s released back to the environment.

USCG: In 2012, The U.S Coast Guard enforced a rule which establishes a standard for acceptable levels of marine organisms in ballast water that can be discharged into US waters. All vessels that sail in the region must adhere to the USCG's legislations. The USCG currently allows the acceptance of Alternate Management Systems (AMS) as a temporary measure, in order for vessels to continue their operations in the US.


 Treatment methods

 There are a variety of treatment methods available for ballast water treatment, whether it be physical or chemical based. There are mainly only a few favourable methods adopted in todays market.


​Treatment Method



​Side Stream Electrochlorination

  • Established technology.
  • Saves power consumption by treating limited flow only on uptake.
  • Produces sodium hypochlorite on demand from seawater without storing harmful chemicals.
  • Can be used in fresh and brackish water.
  • ​May require dechlorination stage when ballasting intervals are short.


Full flow Electrochlorination
  • ​Established technology.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Produces sodium hypochlorite on demand from seawater without storing harmful chemicals.
  • ​May require dechlorination stage when ballasting intervals are short.
  • High power consumption in low salinities.
UV Radiation
  • ​No harmful residuals.
  • Effectively treats a wide range of microorganisms.
  • Proven technology with low maintenance.
  • ​Effectiveness limited in turbid water.
  • UV may not kill organisms but instead inactivates.
  • Requires treatment on uptake and discharge.
  • ​Quick to disinfect.
  • Generated onsite.
  • Stronger oxidant than chlorine.
  • ​Can be corrosive.
  • Safety requirements around generation and use.
  • ​May have a protective effect for pipework.
  • Proven method.
  • ​Requires 1-4 days to gain optimum effectiveness.


marine@evoqua.com SeaCURE® Ballast Water Management System