Last month’s fourth Pollution Prevention and Response sub-committee meeting (PPR4) was “a very tense session” during which “the USCG suffered what appears to be a stunning blow,” according to one industry observer who attended the meeting.
This observer is supportive of the MPN assessment method and has provided an exclusive assessment to BWTT of its discussion, during which he said that PPR4 “made a clear determination that the MPN method is suitable for type-approving ballast water management systems (BWMSs).” Before the meeting, Denmark and Norway had jointly submitted a document that described the MPN and FDA methods for testing treated water and proposed both methods be accepted for determining viability of organisms in ballast water.
In response, he said, the US then submitted a document that argued the MPN method was not yet sufficiently validated, and therefore should not be accepted by IMO. “When this topic came up at the PPR meeting it was very clear from the statements made from a large number of administrations, that others did not share the US point of view,” he said. “Many administrations said they had great trust in the MPN method, which has been applied worldwide for decades for many different applications and used by several administrations to type-approve BWMS for more than a decade.”
PPR4 agreed draft guidance on methodologies that may be used for enumerating viable organisms, which will be submitted to MEPC 71 in July. The text of that guidance has not yet been published, but BWTT’s contact described its draft as being “pretty clear in its language about the MPN method.” He quoted the draft as saying that the MPN method “may be used for enumerating viable organisms for type-approval of BWMS” and that it is “suitable for assessing all treatment technologies.”
In his assessment, BWTT’s observer predicted that, “with the latest blow to the USCG’s stance on the MPN method by IMO, it seems to be just a matter of time before it will accept the MPN method.” In support, he quoted from USCG’s submission to the meeting, which said: “A version of the MPN dilution culture method is currently undergoing a review within the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) programme in the United States.”