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Treatment by ultraviolet irradiation to inactivate microorganisms in ships ballast water



Treatment by ultraviolet irradiation to inactivate microorganisms in ships ballast water



Abstracts of the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology 101: 596



Ballast water transported globally by commercial ships has been shown to be a vector for invasion of exotic species and for transport of pathogenic microorganisms. Biocidal treatment is one option for reducing the potential threat to aquatic ecosystems and public health. We tested a full-scale ballast treatment system, utilizing ultraviolet irradiation to inactivate microorganisms, in replicated experiments at two locations in Lake Superior. The treatment system pumped raw harbor water at 1,500 gpm through a primary treatment module consisting of either a 40-micron mesh automatic backwash filter or a hydrocyclonic separator, followed by a UV reaction chamber delivering monochromatic radiation at 254 nm. We enumerated culturable bacteria in raw and treated water using a membrane filtration method and conducted spiking experiments using the bacteriophage MS2. Plate counts of culturable bacteria were also conducted after incubation in 175 gal tanks for 18 hours to evaluate potential for recovery and regrowth in ballast tanks. In Duluth/Superior Harbor, where the UV254 transmittance (1.0 cm path length) of the water was 35%T, the mean log10 inactivation of MS2 was 0.33. In Two Harbors, MN, where the UV254 transmittance of the water was 93%T, the mean log10 inactivation of MS2 was 1.38. In Duluth/Superior Harbor the effect of UV disinfection on culturable bacteria was undetectable, while in Two Harbors UV disinfection resulted in a mean log10 inactivation of 1.29. Culturable bacteria in UV-disinfected treatments recovered a mean log10 of 1.43 over 18 h at ambient temperature. The primary treatment modules had no significant effect on performance of the UV disinfection system. These experiments demonstrate that using UV disinfection in a ballast water treatment system results in significant inactivation of microorganisms when the optical properties of the ballast water are optimal. Furthermore, regrowth of ambient culturable bacteria occurs in treated ballast water and should be considered when designing ballast disinfection systems.

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