Great Outdoors: University Of Wisconsin-Superior Ballast Water Treatment Facility

This facility is one of just two in the United States

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Aquatic invasive species are caused from ballast water which is discharged from commercial vessels when cargo is unloaded. Thousands of ships come and go in the Great Lakes, which means ballast water is high in these areas causing concerns for some.

Ballast water is one of the largest vectors that spreads aquatic invasive species around the world and one of just two facilities in the United States that eliminates ballast water happens to be in our very back yard.

Which is why the Lake Superior Research Institute opened up their facilities to the public Tuesday afternoon to see first hand at what they do there on a daily basis. People got to see seven demonstrations and ask questions about the experiments they would do to remove this ballast water while also previewing what is to come. Facility officials say having this open house is key.

“It needs to be transparent, it needs to be brought to the public’s attention, it’s part of education and training, it’s a resource that all of the folks meaning Lake Superior need to understand”, said Matt TenEyck, Director of Lake Superior Research Institute.

To just show how unique something like this is, there are only a handful around the world and there hasn’t been much testing done on fresh water.

“This is a critical facility to ensure the certifications of those candidate treatment systems happens and is relevant to what is going on in the Great Lakes”, said Euan Reavie, NRRI Senior Research Associate.

The recently opened $850,000 facility is part of the Great Ships Initiative that brings in government representatives from the Maritime Industry, and other environmental groups. But UWS isn’t the only group on this facility, as UMD is also jointly managing the facility.

“The Great Lakes are a bi–national system. Here we are across two states, the St. Louis River Estuary in the harbor is one of the most heavily invaded fresh water ecosystems in the world requires both states to be involved if they are going to actually do something about the problem so it’s critical to have these collaborations”, said Reavie.

The ballast water treatment facility on Montreal Pier. For more information, click here.

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