New Study Finds Negligible Environmental Impact From Accumulated Scrubber Wash Water In Ports

New Study Finds Negligible Environmental Impact From Accumulated Scrubber Wash Water In Ports

The Clean Shipping Alliance (CSA) 2020 has welcomed the preliminary results of an independent study presented by CE Delft, a research organisation in the Netherlands specialising in environmental issues, indicating that accumulated concentrations of exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS, or “scrubbers”) wash water components are at very low levels and well below applicable regulatory limits.

The study, presented to international delegates of the 74th session of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) on 14 May in London, will help inform the current debate regarding the environmental impact of open loop scrubbers on the marine environment, and particularly on ports and harbours.

Along with a similar study conducted by Japan’s Transport Ministry, it is expected that the CE Delft research, will help fill important gaps in the scientific record.

The research, carried out by CE Delft in collaboration with Deltares, an independent institute for applied research in the Netherlands, uses three versions of Deltares’ state-of-the-art dynamic computer modelling system MAMPEC. Each version represents a common configuration of European ports, and the study assumes that multiple ships in each modelled port are using open loop scrubbers around the clock throughout the year.

Sponsored by CLIA Europe and Interferry, the ongoing study is assessing the accumulated impact of exhaust gas cleaning systems on the water quality in various common port configurations by evaluating the concentration of nine metals and 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

CSA 2020 Executive Committee Member Poul Woodall, Director, Environment & Sustainability, DFDS

CE Delft researchers used wash water samples taken from the scrubber tower outlet of cruise ships, bulk carriers and ferries prior to any buffering or other wash water after-treatment processes.

In the first model, the researchers found that “for most of the compounds considered in the specified reference scenario and not considering wash water after-treatment, multiple ships using open-loop EGCSs may increase the equilibrium concentration in the port by 0% -0.01% of the annual average new Environmental Quality Standard expected to go into force in the EU in 2021, as part of a new Water Framework Directive”.

Only in their assessment of concentrations of Naphthalene, Nickel, Benzo(a)pyrene, and Fluoranthene did the researchers find a slight increase in the equilibrium concentrations, though still only between 0.02% and 0.2% of the maximum annual average Environmental Quality Standard specified for 2021.

CSA 2020 Executive Committee Member Poul Woodall, Director, Environment & Sustainability, DFDS, said: “So far, for all parameters considered, the equilibrium concentrations are indicating annualised contributions on the parts per trillion scale, which we understand are actually too small to be detected by existing laboratory equipment. This is an encouraging start.”

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