This study investigates the treatment processes employed at a ballast water treatment facility in Valdez, Alaska, to remove hydrocarbons from unsegregated ballast water.
Specifically, the aim is to quantify and characterize hydrocarbons of emerging concern, known as hydrocarbon oxidation products (HOPs), and heavy metals (HMs) throughout the treatment process. Specialized analytical techniques, such as non-volatile dissolved organic carbon analysis, fluorescence excitation-emission matrix spectroscopy, and inductively coupled plasma triple quadrupole mass spectrometry were employed for quantification and characterization. Results demonstrate that the treatment process effectively removes benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) compounds, while HOPs remain.
Optical analyses provide insights into the composition and transformation of HOPs, showing a shift towards more oxygenated and complex compounds during the treatment process. Additionally, the study examines the concentrations of various HMs and identifies their trends throughout the treatment process.
The findings highlight the need for comprehensive monitoring and regulation of ballast water treatment processes, considering the presence of HOPs and HMs. The results provide valuable insights for environmental monitoring and risk assessment in ballast water treatment, emphasizing the significance of understanding and mitigating the impacts of petroleum derived contaminants on aquatic ecosystems.