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Long-term algal toxicity of oxidant treated ballast water

Ziegler, Gregory, Tamburri, Mario N., Fisher, Daniel J.
Marine pollution bulletin 2018 v.133 pp. 18-29
algae, ballast water, chlorination, disinfection, growth retardation, invasive species, management systems, oxidants, risk, ships, toxicity, water management, water pollution
National and international regulations require that ships' ballast water is treated to minimize the risk of introducing potentially invasive species. A common approach employed by commercial ballast water management systems is chlorination. This study presents the algal toxicity findings for three chlorination-based BWMS and their implications to environmental safety of port waters receiving treated ballast water from ships. Discharged treated ballast water from all three BWMS was toxic to algae with IC25s (25% growth inhibition) ranging from 9.9% to 17.9%, despite having total residual oxidant concentrations below 0.02 mg/l, based on Whole Effluent Toxicity assays. When held at 4 °C, some of the ballast water samples continued to exhibit toxic effects with no observed effect concentrations as low as 18% after a 134 day holding time. Thirteen individual disinfection by-products were measured above the detected limit at the time of discharge. No correlation between DBPs and algal toxicity was observed.