Located at the base of the CN Tower, Ripley’s Entertainment Inc. has begun construction of their new $130-Million public aquarium in Toronto. This 135,000-square foot world-class Aquarium project, opened during the fall of 2013, will feature 1.5-million gallons of marine and freshwater habitats displaying species from across the world.
PCA provided the detailed aquatic life support system design and engineering services and is currently providing construction support for the project.
Featuring more than 13,500 exotic sea and freshwater creatures, comprising more than 450 species, the Aquarium will be home to a large variety of inhabitants. Highlighting the Aquarium is a unique 315 foot moving walkway through an acrylic tunnel deep below the 750,000-gallon Shark Lagoon, an exhibit occupied by 10 to 12-foot sand tiger sharks, large tooth sawfish and dozens of other species.
PCA staff designed the life support systems for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s Discovery Cove, located next to SeaWorld Adventure Park in Orlando, Florida.
This 33-acre resort park is a tropical paradise with multiple interactive exhibits, animal experiences and opportunities to be up close with marine mammals, fish, rays, sharks & various bird species. Highlights of this lush tropical park include dolphin interactive pools totaling 2.4-MG, a swim through coral reef exhibit totaling 1.1-MG, tropical river for floating or adventuring through the aviary & resort pool systems totaling 825,000 gallons.
This relaxing park offers a break from the typical theme park frenzy with unforgettable hands-on adventures. Bathers can relax on multiple beaches, float down the Lazy River and through Explorer’s Aviary, sun bathe in the resort pool, snorkel through the tropical reef with exotic fish and swim side by side with graceful stingrays.
The artificial saltwater and freshwater environments feature specialized treatment systems for carefully handling, treating and circulating water, providing exceptional water quality, clarity and recovery. The systems utilize treatment trains that draw from a central basin, collectively treating the water as it moves through.
Treatment processes employed include sand filtration, foam fractionation with protein skimmers, ozone contact & deaeration, various chemical feed systems including chlorination, temperature control utilizing thermal storage, an innovative backwash recovery system with minimal chloride discharge, saltwater storage/makeup and reverse osmosis for brine recovery. These systems are also automated for timely backwashing of the filters and rinsing of the fractionators, resulting in more efficient run times and consistent performance.
Discovery Cove – Grand Reef
PCA staff provided the conceptual and detailed design services along with construction administration for Discovery Cove’s latest attraction the Grand Reef. This 1-million gallon saltwater reef is truly an immersive experience; guests spend the day lounging on the beach, snorkeling through the reef or taking an underwater walking tour on the “ocean” floor in the Sea-Venture diving helmet.
The design of the life support system takes into account the previous facility’s lessons learned by incorporating a unique and effective sand settling basin which slows down the flow and removes the sand before it can damage expensive equipment.
Previously suspended carbon used for water polishing is now efficiently supported and contained with an ozone-resistant, flow-through apparatus. The water is carefully introduced to the exhibit through an intricately designed piping supply system; which allows for excellent mixing, pristine water quality and subtle inflows so as to not to disturb the fish, the Sea Venturers or the naturalistic sand bottom.
The LSS equipment is located directly adjacent to the “resort” so strict space and height requirements forced the design team to creatively blend form with function. Sand filtration, 100% backwash recovery and re-use, foam fractionation, automatic control, vacuum water re-use, ozone contact and sludge removal round out the rest of the systems that make Discovery Cove’s LSS a unique blend of traditional equipment and cutting-edge innovations.
River Safari is the newest addition to Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s portfolio of award winning parks, which includes the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and the Jurong Bird Park.
It will be Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park that will feature 8 fresh water rivers of the world – the Mississippi, Congo, Nile, Ganges, Murray, Mekong, Yangtze and Amazon River. Visitors to River Safari can look forward to an immersive experience in the world of rivers and learn more about freshwater habitats and animals.
Occupying 12 hectares, the River Safari will be home to over 300 animal species including endangered animals such as the Giant Pandas and the Mekong Giant Catfish; it will also house one of Asia’s largest collections of freshwater aquatic animals.
The River Safari aims to inspire visitors to appreciate, conserve and protect fragile freshwater ecosystems.
PCA is providing detailed aquatic life support system design and engineering services and construction support for the project. With approximately 4,500 cubic meters of total exhibit water volume, River Safari will be home to one of Asia’s largest collection of freshwater aquatic animals and will feature over 300 animal species including endangered animals such as the Giant Pandas, the giant Giant Mekong Catfish, and the Giant River Otters.
Each major exhibit has its own dedicated treatment system to prevent cross contamination between species. Additionally, the water treatment systems will help to ensure the animals are kept healthy as well as provide visitors with a pleasant experience.
Water treatment systems include coarse screening and drum filters (manatee and otter exhibits), which reduce the overall filter backwash frequency for these exhibits by approximately 50 percent. Additional water treatment techniques include high-rate sand filtration, ozone, ultraviolet (UV), chlorination, bio-filtration, and aeration. All of these methods work together to control turbidity, color, bacteria levels, nitrate, phosphates, dissolved oxygen, pH and other water quality parameters.
In addition to ensuring excellent water quality, PCA treats and recycles water used in the park as part of River Safari’s conservation efforts. Water will be reused multiple times in order to reduce the demand on the existing potable water and wastewater systems. Water use for makeup purposes following exhibit filter backwash cycles is the primary water consumer for River Safari. Therefore, freshwater makeup will be supplied through the existing potable water system with an option to use and pre-treated water from the Lower Seletar Reservoir as a backup source in the future.
Additionally, a future backwash recovery system has been incorporated into the design. The backwash recovery system will be used to treat exhibit filter backwash for reuse in the exhibit; thus reducing the overall discharge associated with filter backwash by another 50 percent.
PCA prepared the design for rehabilitation of existing life support systems serving a 300,000-gallon Sea Lion Pool and a 125,000-gallon Seal Pool at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park in Washington, DC.
Phased construction involved comprehensive rehabilitation to replace aged, corroded or insufficiently sized equipment and piping, converting the freshwater pools to saltwater, adding ozone as a primary disinfectant, improving leaf and litter removal, increasing filtration, making efficient use of building space, and simplifying operations. Moreover, the rehabilitation adds two new life support systems for animal holding pools and a common backwash recovery system, all within a constrained site and constructed while the pools are kept in operation.
Past phases of the project included an intensive concept design report and a 3-D laser survey of the facility to document as-built conditions, all led by PCA staff. These efforts were instrumental in establishing the scope and feasibility of the rehabilitation project, which involves sustainable and innovative design to develop the facility into a model for energy and water conservation within the zoo and aquarium industry.
PCA staff provided life support system engineering and design services on numerous other projects at the Zoo. Prior experience includes design of bridging documents for design-build of the new Elephant Trails exhibit, planning for a Wetlands/Migratory Birds exhibit, and drafting of construction documents for the Amazonia exhibit. Amazonia is the Zoo’s largest and most complex exhibit, displaying fish such as arowana, river stingray and a variety of catfish in 50,000 gallons of aquaria. PCA staff also served on the Zoo’s Facilities Master Planning team.
La Jolla (San Diego), CA
The Southwest Fisheries Science Center embarked on a new $80M laboratory to house its three research divisions, headquarters and other NOAA programs. This project is highlighted by a 500,000-gallon indoor test tank.
The tank, which operates as an isolated fresh or seawater system and requires thermohaline regulation and anechoic tiles, will be used to develop acoustical-optical technologies for non-lethal surveys of protected and managed species and ship based surveys of schooling fish. The tank will also be used for experiments with marine mammals, turtles, fish and invertebrates. There is no other tank of this type in the world.
PCA designed the life support system for the test tank and adjacent holding pools. The facility requires extreme control of conditions in the tank. Features include rapid regulation of temperatures down to 0⁰C, minimal thermocline, diffusion of turbulence, isolation from sound and vibrations generated by process equipment and degassing of bubbles from remote underwater vehicles (ROVs).
Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, HI
The Pacific Regional Center in Hawaii is a $240M facility that consolidates various NOAA offices and research activities spread across Honolulu. The Center is located on the historic Ford Island in Pearl Harbor and will preserve and restore historic World-War-II era Navy hangers.
PCA designed thirteen aquatic life support systems for 100,000-gallons of marine animal tanks at the Center. These tanks house critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, endangered green turtles, over fished big-eye tuna and depleted coral species.
NOAA’s research activities require simulating the water quality of the open ocean on a site that is surrounded by the impacted harbor. Several of the tanks require nitrate levels that are well below those normally found in marine aquariums and will employ intensive denitrification and nitrate removal systems.
Prior to design, PCA prepared a comprehensive Seawater Study of life support system options for the animal tanks. The study benchmarked the Center against other coastal aquariums, compared open, semi-open and closed design approaches, and evaluated seawater source and discharge alternatives.
San Francisco, CA
The Steinhart Aquarium is one of the oldest aquariums in the United States and is located in the existing California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. PCA provided construction administration and support services for the life support systems at this new world-class aquarium project. PCA staff performed design and evaluation services for the facility, including:
• Evaluation of the seawater intake system, including the current and future capacity requirements for the intake well system.
• Evaluation of the existing seawater intake pump stations, forcemain, including corrosion, cavitation, and water hammer issues.
• Design of life support design system for the new Aquarium, including a 200,000-gallon live coral exhibit, a 100,000-gallon Amazon Rainforest, a 100,000-gallon California Coast exhibit, a 25,000-gallon penguin exhibit as well as numerous other exhibits displaying unique aquatic animal habitats.
• Design and start-up of the life support systems for a temporary aquarium.
This facility is used to house existing specimens during construction of the new facility. These efforts required intimate knowledge of the key life support constraints at the Steinhart Aquarium and demonstrated PCA’s ability to handle complex life support system design issues within existing historical buildings. Project issues included severe seawater corrosion problems and water hammer considerations and critical space constraints within existing and future facilities.
This project focused on the design of life support systems for this $160M aquarium, husbandry center, utility building, and dormitory complex. The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA) is located at Checheng in Pingtung County and is the largest marine life museum in Asia. The main exhibit halls include Waters of Taiwan, a 2-million gallon Coral Kingdom Pavilion, and Waters of the World which opened in 2006.
The facility offers a moving track along an underwater tunnel. The tank has a water capacity of 1.5-MG of water and is more than 260 feet long, the largest underwater tunnel in Asia. The life support system regulates the water quality for all of the aquarium exhibits and includes a supervision system and a complicated system of pipelines essential to the operation and maintenance of the museum.
PCA provided the life support systems design for this park that included a 3,800-cubic-meter whale and dolphin stadium, a seal and penguin stadium, a large marine aquarium, and numerous independent salt and freshwater exhibits.
This park is the largest of its kind in the world in which artificial water is used. The water systems conceived and designed include re-circulation, aeration, biological removal of ammonia and organic waste, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, chlorination, and ozonation and cooling. A filter backwash recover system in the 16-mgd main treatment plan minimizes use of expensive artificial seawater and allows 99.9 percent recycling.
PCA was responsible for the overall project management and instrumentation and controls and the preparation of detailed plans and specifications for life support systems utilizing pressure filtration, ozone, electrolytic chlorine generation, ultraviolet disinfection and bio-filtration. This included the design of a 34,000-gpm system for the coral reef tank, which is the largest single aquarium in the world.
The project was one of the first multi-species facilities, incorporating tropical fish, dolphins, sea lions, and scuba divers into a single coral reef environment. In addition to the main coral reef tank, which contains a wide variety of animals present in a Caribbean coral reef environment, there are a variety of secondary exhibits holding dolphins, sharks, sea lions, manatees, kelp fish and lobster.
Corpus Christi, TX
PCA designed the life support systems for the $40M Texas State Aquarium overlooking Corpus Christi Bay. The aquarium is dedicated to education, entertainment and to promoting the conservation and wide use of the aquatic resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. The exhibit encourages visitors to interact with animals and obtain information on their encounters. The complexity of interaction of life in the Gulf unfolds before the visitor to show the wide range of creatures and habitats. Dynamic graphics, interactive video, and other media allows for an integrated view of the Gulf’s world and man-made elements such as marine culture, ocean engineering, oil exploration, sport and commercial fishing, and marine paleontology.
Live exhibits range from greatly magnified views of tiny crustaceans to a 130,000-gallon tank with a full-scale replica of an offshore oil rig. The project was completed within two years to avoid the loss of budgeted project funds. Fast-track design methods and numerous bid packages were used to facilitate the process.
A subsequent project for the Texas State Aquarium involved a major expansion to the existing facility. The staff at PCA designed the life support system for a $1.4M ridley sea turtle and river otter exhibit. A third expansion also included a 400,000-gallon natural seawater dolphin exhibit.
The exhibit provides both above and below water viewing of eight to ten adult dolphins. The tank is supplied with natural seawater from the adjoining bay. The design also included a new intake structure located on the aquarium’s existing pier, large foam fractionation units, bio-tower filtration, pressure filters, pressurized ozone contractors, a seawater intake system, and a unique inlet system for continuous cleaning of the pool bottom.