New Frontiers for Ballast Water Treatment at the Intersection of Science, Technology and Policy

April 27, 2015 1:00 pm — 3:00 pm

Shipping is the backbone of the global economy, transporting goods and people around the globe. However, ships also carry hitchhikers—aquatic invasive species that travel in ballast tanks and released in new locations. While some, like zebra and quagga mussels, are well-known, many others are causing damage in the Great Lakes and other vulnerable waters in the US and internationally.

Governments and stakeholders are working to address this ongoing invasion by developing ballast water treatment (BWT) technologies and enacting and implementing laws and regulations requiring shippers to install and use these technologies. A number of states have created programs requiring vessels to use BWT systems, including California and Great Lakes states, which have been particularly affected by ballast-borne invaders. U.S. Coast Guard regulations and an EPA general permit also require the use of BWT—but with less ambitious, but more immediately achievable, screening goals than in some states.

The differing scope and stringency of state and federal programs and the evolving state of BWT technology have led to continuing debates about the appropriate roles of state and federal government in BWT regulation. Congress is currently considering legislation that would redefine which vessels are subject to BWT requirements, how effective BWT must be, and how state and federal programs intersect. The fate of this legislation and of the debate will determine the continued evolution of the ballast water regulatory landscape for years to come.

This webinar convened a range of experts to discuss these ongoing and emerging issues in BWT technology and law, providing an up-to-date perspective on the present and future of ballast water management in the United States.


  • Joel Brammeier, President, Alliance for the Great Lakes
  • Kathy Metcalf, Director, Maritime Affairs, Chamber of Shipping of America
  • Mario Tamburri, Alliance for Coastal Technologies, Maritime Environmental Resource Center
  • Nicole Dobroski, Environmental Program Manager, Marine Invasive Species Program, California State Lands Commission


  • Read Porter, Director, Invasive Species Program, Environmental Law Institute


Webinar Slides

Background Materials