Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Ballast Treatment Could Protect Great Lakes Fish

Date:
June 7, 2008
Source:
Michigan Technological University
Summary:
A professor has developed a new water treatment that could help keep a deadly fish disease out of Lake Superior. It involves bleach and vitamin C.

A Michigan Technological University professor has developed a new water treatment that could help keep a deadly fish disease out of Lake Superior.

David Hand, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, has devised a simple way to treat ballast water in vessels ranging from pleasure craft to ore boats. His method is designed to kill the virus that causes viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), an often-fatal disease that has been attacking fish populations in the lower Great Lakes.

Hand's treatment is simple. The ballast water is disinfected with sodium hypochlorite—ordinary household bleach. Then it is treated with ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, which neutralizes the bleach before the water is released into the lake.

With good initial results, Hand has tested his method on the Ranger III, a National Park Service vessel that shuttles visitors and staff between the mainland and Isle Royale National Park.

In the next few weeks, the Great Ships Initiative will conduct independent lab tests on his system at the University of Wisconsin–Superior to help determine if it is safe, effective and inexpensive. Other partners in the effort are the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

"VHS has had a devastating effect on the musky population in Lake St. Clair and affects 23 species of game fish," said Phyllis Green, superintendent of Isle Royale National Park and the midwest coordinator of the park service's VHS Prevention Team. "It's important that we keep it out of the Lake Superior basin or at least slow its spread. Our aim is to find a low-tech, low-cost, interim solution that can stop the spread of VHS."

Since 2003, VHS it has caused massive dieoffs of fish species ranging from walleyes to salmon in all of the Great Lakes except Superior. Infected fish die from bleeding of their internal organs and often have open sores and bruised-looking, reddish tints on their skin.

As bad as it is, VHS is only part of the problem Hand wants to address. Exotic species have been hitchhiking throughout the Great Lakes via ballast tanks since 1959, when the St. Lawrence Seaway opened. And, as global trade increases, the problem will only get worse.

"Ships unload their ballast water from all over the world, and with it all kinds of exotic, invasive species, from viruses and bacteria to the zebra mussel," said Hand.

It's unfair to point the finger only at ocean-going ships, says Hand, a devoted angler and boat owner himself. All boaters should sterilize their bilge, ballast and livewell water.

"Not only do we need to prevent the salties from bringing in new viruses, we also need the lake carriers from the lower Great Lakes to treat their ballast, because the VHS virus is already in Lakes Huron, Michigan and Erie, and we don't want it in Superior," he said. "We really need something for all ships, as well as pleasure boats."

"We all need to protect the resource," he said.

If tests show that his system is as safe and effective as he believes, Hand hopes to map a strategy to implement its use throughout the Great Lakes.

The Great Ships Initiative is a public-private collaborative that aims to halt the ship-driven spread of exotic species through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. In addition to conducting research and development on possible ballast treatment systems, the Great Ships Initiative supports harbor monitoring and develops financial incentives to encourage ballast treatment and to protect the Great Lakes ecosystem.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan Technological University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan Technological University. "New Ballast Treatment Could Protect Great Lakes Fish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604104354.htm>.
Michigan Technological University. (2008, June 7). New Ballast Treatment Could Protect Great Lakes Fish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604104354.htm
Michigan Technological University. "New Ballast Treatment Could Protect Great Lakes Fish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604104354.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Icelandic authorities briefly raised the aviation warning code to red on Friday during a small eruption at the Holuhraun lava field in the Bardabunga volcano system. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) In the midst of a historic drought, Los Angeles is increasing efforts to go after people who waste water. Five water conservation "cops" drive around the city every day educating homeowners about the drought. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins