Marine Aquaculture Water Reuse and Effluent Treatment Systems: An Integrated Sustainable Approach for Commercial Producers

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 2010-00375
Amount: $89,180.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.7
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
100 INTERMODAL DR, Chalmette, LA, 70043
DUNS: 831415935
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Charles Weirich
 Director of Operations/Chief Scientist
 (601) 528-5653
Business Contact
 Charles Weirich
Title: Director of Operations/Chief Scientist
Phone: (601) 528-5653
Research Institution
Although baseline methods for growing high-value marine finfish in low salinity recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) have been developed, the technologies for effective treatment of wastewater from RAS facilities operating at low salinity levels have not been explored to any great extent, creating a bottleneck for industry development. Researchers, including those with the USDA-ARS Sustainable Marine Aquaculture Systems unit, have cultured species including Florida pompano and cobia to market size in low salinity RAS. For freshwater RAS facilities, discharge water that typically contains high concentrations of particulate and suspended solids, as well as organic compounds containing nitrogen and phosphorus can be applied to agricultural fields or through other disposal measures. Unfortunately, discharge from marine RAS facilities at salinities a fraction of natural seawater is well above the salt tolerance of plants, and acceptable levels set by state and federal permitting agencies. Therefore, water must be treated and recycled to satisfy regulatory requirements and reduce the cost of salt and chemical additions. The proposed Phase I research will evaluate a novel application of wastewater treatment technologies proven to be effective at elevated salinities on the waste stream of a pilot-scale marine fish production facility. Technical objectives of the project are: 1) design and install a pilot-scale modular wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), 2) monitor influent and effluent to analyze system performance, and 3) evaluate economic benefits derived from wastewater reuse and project production costs. The pilot-scale modular WWTP will consist of an equalization tank, anaerobic tank, aerobic tank with membrane biological filtration, settling tank, and an anaerobic digester coupled with UV sterilization. The WWTP will service a commercial marine fish hatchery and production facility. Once installed, selected water quality indices of influent to as well as effluent from the WWTP will be measured on a scheduled basis using standard methods. Energy usage will be measured by an electric meter dedicated to the automated treatment system. In addition, maintenance activities will be logged with amount of time spent on each task to calculate labor costs of operating the system. A cost-benefit table will be produced to compare operating costs with the cost of recovered salts. It is anticipated that the pilot-scale WWTP evaluated in this project will accomplish the goal of 100% water reuse without the addition of chemicals or loss of desirable dissolved solids such as salt and beneficial ions. The proposed research will allow for detailed evaluation of system performance in order to refine the system operation and for scale-up and commercialization. Aqua Green intends to make the treatment system, as well as the entire facility design and operating plan available to franchisees as well as other marine finfish production operations employing RAS technologies as soon as technical, biological and financial viability can be demonstrated.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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