Biological treatment methods of ship sewage: Case study


  • Ieva Demjanenko Riga Technical University Latvian Maritime Academy, Flotes Str. 12 k-1, LV-1016, Riga, Latvia
  • Renāte Kalniņa Riga Technical University Latvian Maritime Academy, Flotes Str. 12 k-1, LV-1016, Riga, Latvia
  • Kristaps Lūkins Riga Technical University Latvian Maritime Academy, Flotes Str. 12 k-1, LV-1016, Riga, Latvia
  • Jānis Prodnieks Riga Technical University Latvian Maritime Academy, Flotes Str. 12 k-1, LV-1016, Riga, Latvia



Ship, Sewage treatment plant, Biological treatment, Moving bed biofilm reactor, Fixed bed reactor


The study aims to compare three sewage biological treatment methods- activated sludge, moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR), and fixed bed biofilm reactor. The activated sludge method is the most used in ship sewage treatment. However, biofilm carrier methods, such as MBBR and fixed bed reactors, have improved in their effectiveness with industrial wastewater, with ship sewage being considered industrial. An experiment was carried out with ship untreated sewage samples, and chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentrations from different methods were analyzed and compared.


Abba, S. I., & Elkiran, G. (2017). Effluent prediction of chemical oxygen demand from the wastewater treatment plant using artificial neural network application. Procedia Computer Science, 120, 156-163.

Al-Amshawee, S., Mohd, M. Y., & Azoddein, A. (2020). A novel microbial biofilm carrier for wastewater remediation. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 736, 072006.

Alrumman, S. A., El-kott, A. F., & Keshk, S. M. A. S. (2016). Water pollution: Source & Treatment. American Journal of Environmental Engineering, 6(3), 88-98.

Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission. (2019). A technical guidance for the handling of wastewater in Ports of the Baltic Sea Special Area under MARPOL Annex IV. Retrieved from

Boavida-Dias, R., Silva, J. R., Santos, A. D., Martins, R. C., Castro, L. M., & Quinta-Ferreira, R. M. (2022). A comparison of biosolids production and system efficiency between activated sludge, moving bed biofilm reactor, and sequencing batch moving bed biofilm reactor in the dairy wastewater treatment. Sustainability, 14(5), 5.

Byrnes, T. A., & Dunn, R. J. K. (2020). Boating- and shipping-related environmental impacts and example management measures: A review. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 8(11), 908.

Chandra, R. (2016). Environmental waste management. CRC Press.

Chen, W. (2022). The magic of sewage treatment plant type tests. The Maritime Executive. Retrieved from

Cloern, J. (2001). Our evolving conceptual model of the coastal eutrophication problem. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 210, 223-253.

International Maritime Organization. (2012). Resolution MEPC227(64), 2012 Guidelines on implementation of effluent standards and performance tests for sewage plants. International Maritime Organization.

International Maritime Organization. (2019). Strategy, Planning and Reform. A Strategy for the IMO Secretariat to identify, analyse and address emerging issues and opportunities to further support Member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. International Maritime Organization. Retrieved from

International Maritime Organization. (2022). Resolution MEPC.284(70), Amendments to the 2012 Guidelines on implementation of effluent standard and performance tests form sewage treatment plants (Resolution MEPC. 227(64)). International Maritime Organization. Retrieved from

International Maritime Organization. (2017). Marpol: Articles, Protocols, Annexes, Unified Interpretations of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, As Modified by the Protocol of 1978 Relating Thereto. International Maritime Organization.

Jalkanen, J. P., Johansson, L., Wilewska-Bien, M., Granhag, L., Ytreberg, E., Eriksson, K. M., Yngsell, D., Hassellöv, I. M., Magnusson, K., Raudsepp, U., Maljutenko, I., Styhre, L., Winnes, H., & Moldanova, J. (2020). Modeling of discharges from Baltic Sea shipping. Ocean Science.

Kalnina, R., & Ivaninoka, I. (2020). Treatment methods of Ships Sewage. In Proceeding of the 24th International Scientific Conference.

Kalnina, R., Demjanenko, I., & Suraja, K. (2021). Perspective of sustainable shipping: Eco-ships. In Proceedings of the 25th International Scientific Conference.

Kalnina, R., Demjanenko, I., Gorbacenko, D., Priednieks, V., & Baronins, J. (2021). Nutrient analysis of food waste from Ships’ Greywater in the Baltic Sea. Water, 13(17), 17.

Kalnina, R., Demjanenko, I., Smilgainis, K., Lukins, K., Bankovics, A., & Drunka, R. (2022). Microplastics in ship sewage and solutions to limit their spread: A case study. Water, 14(22), 22.

Kaluža, L., Šuštaršič, M., Rutar, V., & Zupančič, G. D. (2014). The re-use of waste-activated sludge as part of a “zero-sludge” strategy for wastewater treatments in the pulp and paper industry. Bioresource Technology, 151, 137-143.

Kawan, J., Abu Hasan, H., Suja, F., Jaafar, O., & Abd-Rahman, R. (2016). A review on sewage treatment and polishing using moving bed bioreactor (Mbbr). Journal of Engineering Science and Technology, 11(8), 1098-1120.

Koboević, Ž., & Kurtela, Ž. (2011). Comparison of marine sewage treatment systems. Retrieved from

Koottatep, T., Cookey, P. E., & Polprasert, C. (2019). Technological system. Regenerative sanitation: A new paradigm for sanitation 4.0 (pp. 141-207). IWA Publishing.

Li, X., Wang, L., & Wang, L. (2021). Determination of chemical oxygen demand in mixed organic solution by Ti/TiO2 nanotube array electrode method. Water Science and Technology, 84(4), 865-879.

Madan, S., Madan, R., & Hussain, A. (2022). Advancement in biological wastewater treatment using hybrid moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR): A review. Applied Water Science, 12, 141.

Mohd, S. L., Mohiyaden, H. A., Basri, H., Salih, G. H. A., Birima, A. H., Ali, Z., Mohd, S. A. F., & Md. Noh, M. N. (2015). Experimental comparison between Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) and Conventional Activated Sludge (CAS) for river purification treatment plant. Advanced Materials Research, 1113, 806-811.

Niaounakis, M., & Halvadakis, C. P. (2006). Chapter 8-Biological processes. Waste Management Series (pp. 171-218). Elsevier.

Punmia, B. C., Jain, A. K., & Jain, A. K. (2016). Wastewater engineering (2nd eds.). Laxmi Publications.

Santos, A. D., Martins, R. C., Quinta-Ferreira, R. M., & Castro, L. M. (2020). Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) for dairy wastewater treatment. Energy Reports, 6, 340-344.

Simm, R. (2021). Biological treatment technologies (pp. 189-216). In Lens, P. N. L., & Pakshirajan, K. (Eds.). Environmental technologies to treat selenium pollution. IWA Publishing.

Snyder, R., & Wyant, D. (2010). Training manual for wastewater treatment plant, operators-activated sludge process control (pp. 1-3). Water Resources Division: State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Taskgroup. (2022). Introduction (pp. 1-4). In Batstone, D., & Flores-Alsina, X. (Eds.), Generalised Physicochemical Model (PCM) for wastewater processes. IWA Publishing.

Tran, H., Lesage, G., Lin, C., Nguyen, B., Bui, X. T., Nguyen, M., Nguyen, D. H., Hoang, H. G., Nguyen, D. D., & Minh, K. N. (2022). Activated sludge processes and recent advances. Current Developments in Biotechnology and Bioengineering Advances in Biological Wastewater Treatment Systems, 2022, 49-79.

Vieira, D., Oliveira, M., Dias, R. M., Nariyoshi, Y., & Nascimento, Y. (2014). Evaluation of a MBBR (moving bed biofilm reactor) pilot plant for treatment of pulp and paper mill wastewater Evaluation of a MBBR (Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor) pilot plant for treatment of pulp and paper. International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis, 2, 220-225.

Von Sperling, M. (2015). Activated sludge and aerobic biofilm reactors. Water Intelligence Online, IWA Publishing.

Wacławek, S., Grübel, K., Silvestri, D., Padil, V. V. T., Wacławek, M., Černík, M., & Varma, R. S. (2019). Disintegration of Wastewater Activated Sludge (WAS) for improved biogas production. Energies, 12(1), 21.




How to Cite

Demjanenko, I., Kalniņa, R., Lūkins, K., & Prodnieks, J. (2023). Biological treatment methods of ship sewage: Case study. Maritime Technology and Research, 5(4), 262951.