Biomonitoring the impact of discharged chlorinated seawater in the port of Zeebrugge

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal
    Does the discharge of chlorinated seawater have a biological impact? Fluxys LNG NV/SA is building a new gas processing installation in the port of Zeebrugge, which uses seawater to heat the liquefied gas. The seawater is chlorinated to keep the pump from fouling. The potential environmental effects of chlorinated seawater discharge on the benthic macrofauna  and the epifauna on the harbour quay in Zeebrugge are monitored in accordance with the biomonitoring plan of Fluxys LNG and Arcadis Belgium.

    Research approach
    The first samples (T0)  (soft substrate macrobenthos and hard substrate epibenthos) were taken in December 2011 and June 2012, before the gas installation was commissioned. This includes both samples in the immediate vicinity of the discharge point, as well as control samples outside the area ??influenced by the discharge point, at two different heights relative to the low water mark. After the discharge of chlorinated seawater has started,  the T1 sampling is done at the same locations in comparable seasons. Through this BACI sampling design (Before-After/Control-Impact), a comparison can be made between T0 and T1, and between reference and impact samples, to determine the biological impact of the chlorinated seawater discharge on the density and diversity of the resident fauna.

    This research is part of a broader monitoring program imposed by the current legislation to monitor the potential impact of the discharge of chlorinated seawater on the environment. Several partners are involved. The research on larval growth (mainly bivalves) and the refinement of the chlorination regime are carried out by other agencies and the company itself. When actual biological effects can be identified, scientific advice on measures to reduce or to avoid the impact is likely to follow.

    Funding provider(s)
    Fluxys lng

    External partner(s)
    Vlaams Instituut voor de zee
    Effective start/end date24/11/1131/12/14