The paper provides background on how bilge water has changed over the years and how technology has enabled manufacturers to stay ahead of the curve by borrowing technological breakthroughs from other areas to the measurement of oil content in the marine environment. Light scattering provides today a universal and reliable method, able to measure the wide range of oils present in a wildly variable and unpredictable bilge water mixture.

Bilge water regulations were put in place to reduce the potential of harm to the environment from oily bilge water discharges. Regulations require that instruments verify effluent quality continually during the discharge process, which precludes the adoption for shipboard use of standard laboratory style testing with the associated time delays to complete the analysis. Measuring oil content with the light scattering measuring instrument is a tried and tested means for compliant bilge water verification. State of the art instruments employ sophisticated light measuring systems and they use complex algorithms to convert the scattered light pattern values into oil content reading, thereby considering interference from other than oil suspended matter, they prevent harm to the environment from bilge water discharges.

Paper published with permission.

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