Dipl.-Ing. Markus Joswig

Head of Marine Department / Bereichsleiter Marine Services
  +49 241 75082-29

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.

» International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Type Approval

PIA offers tests for type approval of waste water treatment systems in cooperation with flag state administrations and classification societies according to national and international standards.

An overview about the effluent standards is given in the following table:


* 100 mg/l when tested onboard, 50 mg/l when tested ashore

** no visible floating solids

*** applicable to passenger ships which operate in MARPOL Annex IV special areas and which intend to discharge treated sewage effluent into the sea

  MEPC.2(VI)MEPC.159(55)MEPC.227(64)Type IType IIAlaska
    since 2003 since 2010 since 2016      
BOD5 [mg/l] 50 25 25 Qi/Qe - - 30
COD [mg/l] - 125 125 Qi/Qe - - -
TSS [mg/l] 100* 35 35 Qi/Qe -** 150 30
coliforms [cfu/100ml] 250 100 100 Qi/Qe 1000 200 20
residual chlorine [mg/l] - 0,5 0,5 - - 0,01
pH [-] - 6,0 - 8,5 6,0 - 8,5 - - 6,0 - 9,0
Ntot [mg/l] - - 20 Qi/Qe - - -
Ptot [mg/l] - - 1 Qi/Qe - - -

Compliance Testing

PIA offers testing for compliance during ship operation as required for example by Alaskan Regulations for cruise ships and EU Regulations for inland passenger vessels.


Amendments to resolution MEPC.227(64) adopted

On its seventieth session the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted resolution MEPC.284(70) on Amendments to the 2012 Guidelines on implementation of effluent standards and performance tests for sewage treatment plants. The resolution includes new forms of certificates of the type approval for sewage treatment plants. Compliance with the special area requirements in regulation 9.2.1 of MARPOL Annex IV is now certified on a separate certificate of type approval.
The Baltic Sea Special Area will take effect on:
- 1 June 2019 for new passenger ships;
- 1 June 2021 for existing passenger ships other than those specified below; and
- 1 June 2023 for existing passenger ships en route directly to or from a port located outside the special area and to or from a port located east of longitude 28˚10' E within the special area that do not make any other port calls within the special area.

International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) will enter into force on September 8th, 2017

On 8 September 2016 the IMO announced in a press release that the Ballast Water Management Convention would go into effect on 8 September 2017. Ratification of the BWM Convention by Finland has triggered a key international measure for environmental protection that should stop potentially invasive aquatic species from spreading in ships’ ballast water. The accession brings the combined tonnage of contracting states to the treaty to 35.1441%, with 52 contracting parties. The convention stipulates that it will enter into force 12 months after ratification by a minimum of 30 states, who represent 35% of world merchant shipping tonnage.

Further information:
» IMO Press Briefing
» IMO In Focus: Ballast Water Management

Coast Guard Acceptance of Sewage Treatment Plants for Type-Approval to MEPC.227(64)

The Coast Guard has announced its acceptance of sewage treatment plants for type-approval to International Maritime Organization resolution MEPC.227(64) as meeting the requirements for marine sanitation devices. Up to now only International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificates (ISPPCs) indicating the sewage systems complying with MEPC.159(55) or MEPC.2(VI) were accepted by the U.S. Coast Guard as being in compliance with U.S. regulations contained in 33 CFR 159.

This acceptance applies to vessels flagged or registered outside the United States while operating in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

The official notice is available on the » Federal Register.