PIA offers extensive service in the field of wastewater treatment to the marine industry:
- Tests for type approval of waste water treatment systems in cooperation with flag state administrations and classification societies according to national and international standards
- Testing for compliance during ship operation as required for example by Alaskan Regulations for cruise ships and EU Regulations for inland passenger vessels
- Performance evaluation
- Training for crew members, ports, shipowners, shipyards and authorities. Besides the IMO Model Course “Marine Environmental Awareness” and the “PIA Basic Course” we offer customized training to your company.
Marine Environmental Protection
The seas are the largest ecosystem of the world and, therefore, of great economic importance as a food source and traffic carrier. As shipping transports 90 per cent of global trade, reducing emissions originating from wastewater generated during ship operation can make an important contribution to protect the marine environment. By reason of the transboundary nature of the marine environment, a good marine environmental status can only be achieved at an international level.
Changes to international regulations have caused incertitude towards the relation of international and U.S. regulations. A clear understanding of the regulations concerning sewage is, thus, necessary. Different regulations affect different types of vessels, from small private vessels with one installed toilet up to large cruise ships. Furthermore, shipping routes are becoming more important because of the increasing number of special areas with more stringent regulations on the discharge of sewage from ships. Besides the Alaskan Waters as special area under US regulation, IMO adopted the occasion to designate special areas in July 2011. The Baltic Sea will be one of the first Special Areas.
International Activities to protect the Sea
At an international level the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established in Geneva in 1948 and came into force in 1959. The original mandate was principally concerned with maritime safety and the prevention of pollution of the sea by oil. In 1973 the IMO convened the “International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships” (MARPOL 73), which was revised in 1978 (MARPOL 73/78) and became effective in 1983. MARPOL contains – besides the prevention of pollution by oil – other pollution like noxious and harmful substances in bulk, garbage, exhaust emissions and sewage. The regulations concerning sewage are found in MARPOL Annex IV.
The second resolution of the sixth session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) provided the first international effluent standards and guidelines for performance tests for sewage treatment plants (MEPC.2(VI)). Although it was adopted in 1976, it took 27 years for ratification and entered into force in 2003. Developments in the design and effectiveness of sewage treatment plants resulted in a revision of the guideline in order to improve the protection of the marine environment. The revised guidelines MEPC.159(55) adopted in 2006 provided more stringent effluent standards and apply for equipment installed on board on or after 1 January 2010.
The performance test standard for sewage treatment plants was again revised by resolution MEPC.227(64) at the 64th session of the MEPC. In order to reduce the input of nutrients to the Baltic Sea by passenger ships limits for the discharge of phosphorus and nitrogen have been introduced. The stricter discharge limits will apply from the 1. June 2019 for new passenger ships and for existing passenger ships from the 1. June 2021.
MARPOL Annex IV is currently ratified by 129 member states, which represent 86.69% of the world tonnage. The United States is not party to MARPOL Annex IV. The applicable national regulation in the United States is 33 CFR Part 159.