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  • Writer's pictureHeather

Purified water for zoological aquatic exhibits

Updated: Feb 27

“No one will protect what they don't care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”

-English broadcaster, writer, and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough

This quote has long-remained in my conscience. It deepens my admiration for the work done at our Kansas City Zoo, whose stated mission is "to connect all people to each other and the natural world to promote understanding, appreciation, and conservation."

The Zoo's newest visionary move is to bring a world-class aquarium to our landlocked city, featuring "six major habitats supported by more than 30 smaller exhibits." The new attraction will bring the far-away ocean to Kansas City, enabling us to experience for ourselves the way ocean currents connect animals across the globe. The impressive 650,000 gallon exhibit will be the new home to residents from diverse environments; warm coastlines, warm shallows, warm reef, open ocean, cold shallows, and cold coastlines.

Nature has a way of fine-tuning the elements to make things "just right," including the water chemistry. When it comes to man-made habitat for these global aquatic residents, it's not enough to open the tap and hope for the best. Achieving these delicate balances takes man a thousand calculations, tests, observations, and much trial and error. But it can be done!

Commercial Water has provided high purity water treatment for The Zoo for a number of years as a partner in creating purified water for zoological aquatic exhibits. We like the wizardry behind each carefully-curated exhibit. A visitor sees only half the story, the shiny side.

Reverse osmosis pre-treatment with carbon filtration

For this latest project, our role was to consult, design, and install a high purity water treatment system to replenish a multitude of fresh water make-up pools. Each pool provides a different stage of readiness for introduction into the habitats. We took into consideration the number of pools, how much water is required to fill those pools, and the level of quality specified in relation to the desired water temperature.

The system had to fit within a limited floorspace and consist of fiberglass components to be non-corrosive and light. Finally, the system needed to be integrated with remote monitoring software.

Things are coming along well. True to our standards, the high purity system works like a dream and looks like one, too. It delivers purified water for an inland ocean aquatic exhibit that does more than sustain life. The exotic residents flourish, and the human public gets to see them "in their element."

Large carbon filters as part of large water purification system

The real dreamers we know as architects, designers, engineers, and builders came together for a common goal. And what could have been wishful reverie was crystallized out of the field of infinite possibilities. We are now very close to seeing the grand vision brought to life through their skill and execution.

Perhaps these visionaries had encountered Sir Attenborough's quote and it lodged in their conscience as deeply as it did mine.

Whatever the case, the good people of The Kansas City Zoo seem to know this:

"If we have experienced it, we are more likely to care about it. If we care about it, we are more likely to protect it."

And that is just my way of echoing his sentiments.


water purification for exotic fish

See how we've fine-tuned the water for life support in another project.


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