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Nate McVey

Ballast Water Proposal

13 posts in this topic

Many of you probably remember the petition and letters the we signed and sent out last year. I never heard back from any of the "leaders" that I sent it out to, but I did see this in the paper today. At least it's a step in the right direction.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Tuesday laid out a preliminary plan to regulate ballast water in ships that visit Minnesota waters of Lake Superior.

Agency officials held a two-hour public information session in Duluth and said they are moving toward requiring permits for all vessels with ballast tanks that enter Minnesota waters of Lake Superior by Sept. 30.

The PCA plans to require those ships to treat their ballast water before releasing it, probably requiring on-board treatment systems in the next five to seven years.

The state regulations would require any water discharged from ballast to meet a strict standard where almost all living organisms in the tanks would be killed. But those standards won’t be required until ballast water treatment systems can be installed on ships.

The state’s action will require no legislation — PCA officials say they have the necessary authority under federal Clean Water Act permit programs. But the plan could be affected by proposed laws both in Washington and St. Paul.

Proposed federal legislation, as now written, would ban the state from taking its own action, although that bill has not advanced. Legislation in St. Paul could speed up the timetable for treatment.

Jeff Stollenwerk, PCA supervisor of industrial water quality permits, said the new regulations come after a federal judge ruled in 2006 that the exemption to the Clean Water Act that has been offered the shipping industry for decades is illegal and that the Environmental Protection Agency must begin regulating discharges from ships as water pollution starting Sept. 30, 2008.

Some said Tuesday that the regulation is long overdue and that the PCA should act faster, at least with temporary measures, to keep invading species like the fish-killing VHS virus out of Lake Superior.

“I don’t really understand why it’s taken this long to get to a level where you are doing something about it,” said Le Roger Lind of the Save Lake Superior Association, noting invasive species have been an issue for more than 40 years.

But others were critical of imposing unrealistic restrictions on the shipping industry at an unrealistic pace. Brad Clifford, executive director of the North Star Community Development Corp., said the state should first determine what the cost to impose ballast water treatment will be on the industry and regional economy.

“And where are the tax credits and incentives to get them there?” Clifford asked.

PCA officials said estimates to install on-board treatment systems range from $150,000 to $2.3 million per ship, with operating costs from $10,000 to $80,000 per year. They noted it could take several years before ships are able to reserve time in dry-dock so the systems can be installed.

A draft PCA ballast plan will be ready for formal public input by summer.

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I have a bad feeling that whatever the "leaders and experts" come up with will be at best a band aid. If this costs shippers too much $ they will buck it and their $ talks.

The damage has already been done. Where was this 10 years ago or when we 1st started seeing the zebras, ruffies, flees and gobies?

There should have been a lot more done with this years ago. One good thing, if you can look at it that way, is that the eyes, pike, musky and catfish are eating the ruffies and gobies. Im guessing lakers, kings and browns are doing the same?

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I worked on the Ore docks in Duluth and Two Harbors for 30 years. You have no idea what comes out of them tanks. They better fix it soon. In Two Harbors you notice it more because the water is cleaner then here in the bay.

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I agree that there are problems with the ballast water and it definitely needs to be created. Living on a lake the has access to Lk. MI, I have seen some devestating results.

However, Mother Nature does have a way to "correct" these problems.

My example are the zebra mussels. They have (and still are) creating massive problems with water intakes--motors, electrical facilities, etc. and have cost people lots and lots of $$. However, before the zebra mussels the water in Spring Lake was very trubulent with lots of sediment, sub-surface algae, etc. Results of poor practices in the '50s and lakefront expansion. But 5 years ago (after the mussels have been present for ~10 yrs), the water is now the cleaniest it has ever been. And this is according to the Army Corps of Engineers--I have read every quarterly report on that lake for the last 15 years.

The other plus side was that even though 'gills and crappies were present, they were on the smaller side. Now the panfish are the biggest that any lifelong resident has know. Every stomach is full of zebra mussels.

Long story short--maybe there is a silver lining. But I do agree, every effort should be made to stop aquatic invasives and not have a problem to start with.

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Only Ice I slung bags off boats a couple summer and I hear ya on the [PoorWordUsage] that comes out of them boats.

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I agree with northlander--it's a little bit like closing the barn door after the horse done been stole. And like he says the shipping industry deals with the guys at a much higher pay grade than the clean water guys.

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kkahmann how big is that fish in your avatar? Thats a pig. Out of the Nip?

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It wieghed 38lbs--biggest one I boated last summer--not good. I have several over 50. I catch'em in the front yard but I live in a very special place.

Best time for the big ones is usually July and most July's I'm bear huntin in Wisconsin.

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"But others were critical of imposing unrealistic restrictions on the shipping industry at an unrealistic pace. Brad Clifford, executive director of the North Star Community Development Corp., said the state should first determine what the cost to impose ballast water treatment will be on the industry and regional economy."

I say what is the cost for NOT treating ballast water.

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Let's just take the largest body of fresh water in the world besides possibly Bikal and not take care of it. How short sighted can any one group of people get? And how much can it

cost to manufacture a pump that puts chlorine into the ballast water to kill the contents with reasonalbe levels released later. Maybe every major port in the world should have small water treament facilitys and pump out and treat the ballast water and then return it.

By the time the rocket sceintists get to a solution the fish and the sportsman will have no recourse.

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Ya you cant put a dollar amount on saving a resource like Lake Superior and its tribs. Like I said before. By the time the powers to be get their [PoorWordUsage] together it will have been way too late. Sad but thats always the way it goes. Ya always need a board to look into things then a board to make the decision than a board to make sure what the other boards did was correct and then another board to maybe take action. Always too many fingers in the kettle. Look at Mc Quade for gods sake. Maybe that will be open this summer.

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Getting sick of invasive species lists expanding on Superior. Also tired of the it'll take too much time and too much money. I know the McCabe (Duluth) chapter of the Izaak Walton League has been going to battle over ballast controls but like anything these things take time and need support. The junk you can find in the St. Louis Bay estuary and harbor...there is more nonnative than native. Scary.

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You know I finally got fed up with the McQuade landing not being open last year and put in anyway. It's a great landing and what is the problem over there anyway?

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