State of California Lands Commission agree a zero discharge standard for ballast water to be enforced by 2020

As advised in Weekly NEWS No.50/2006 of 16 December 2005, the California State Lands Commission was presented with a set of recommendations from an Advisory Panel on ballast water treatment requirements for ships entering Californian waters. These recommendations were considered last week (26 January) with the Commission agreeing on a zero discharge standard to be enforced by 2020. 

Prior to this enforcement date, however, the Commission has also agreed to adopt ballast water requirements mirroring the IMO’s Convention phase-in dates, which begin in 2009. The fundamental difference with the IMO Convention and the California state requirements lies with the increased ballast treatment standard which the Commission has now agreed upon. For instance, under the California requirements there should be no detectable living organisms greater than 50 microns in size, while the IMO requirements allow up to 10 detectable living organisms per cubic metre. 

Much of the report is based on the premise that an accelerator in technology development is required to ensure that immediate action is taken on this issue. As such, the Commission feel that by setting a technology forcing standard such as this, they can achieve an elimination of the discharge of invasive species into the State’s waters. A three-year review of treatment standards is also included in the adopted recommendations. This will allow the State to strengthen the performance standards established. 

Click here for the Report on Standards for Ballast Water Discharges in California waters. 

Contact: Tim Wilkins