The Vancouver Aquarium provides fresh sea water with Computrol

Have you ever wondered who provides the sea water at your local seafood shop? Or have you asked where the best place is for a marine biologist to get a fresh supply of salt water to support their research? You may be surprised to know the answer is the Vancouver Aquarium.

The Vancouver Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Canada and one of the five largest in North America. Today, there are approximately 48 aquariums in North America.

As a self-supporting, non-profit organization, the Vancouver Aquarium has become internationally recognized for their display and interpretation excellence for aquatic sea life. Nearly a million people visit a year to learn about belugas, dolphins, seals, salmon and sea turtles. It is the first facility to incorporate professional naturalists and interpretive specialists into galleries to explain animal behaviours. Aquarium research projects extend world-wide and are internationally recognized for the successful Marine Mammal Rescue Program.

The Vancouver Aquarium has display facilities stretching to about 100,000 square feet (9,000 square meters) and over 400 employees. The aquarium habitats hold approximately 2 million gallons of filtered sea water. Under the facility are the pumps and filtration systems that keep all the aquatic guests happy. Each hour a million gallon of freshly filtered sea water is pumped in from Burrard Inlet. The new salt water goes through 2 levels of filtration – slow sand and ultraviolet. Then most of used water is returned to the Burrard Inlet.

In March of 2012, Clarke Barber, head of the Vancouver Aquarium bulk salt water services added a C6000 pump control unit at the bulk water station. “I was able to give each of our sea water clients their own key fob for easy access to our supply of filtered sea water.” Since the aquarium requires a fresh clean supply of sea water 24 hours a day, bulk water clients are not limited to rushing down to Stanley Park during office hours.

The Prowater software replaces all the manual dispense tracking, reporting and billing for clients before installing the Computrol C6000. The C6000 easily supports the 20 main clients that average 15 truckloads of water a day. Scientists from UBC or SFU are able to pick up anywhere from 400 to 3000 gallons at a time to support scientific investigation on the Enteroctopus dofleini, also known as the North Pacific giant octopus or the giant Pacific octopus.

The main demand for filtered sea water comes from seafood companies that use it to keep their supply of lobster, crab, clams, mussels, scallops oysters, shellfish and live fish happy and healthy in their store and restaurant aquariums. Average order for sea water is 900 gallons.

Before installing the Computrol system, Clarke Barber said “Our bulk client could only access our supply of sea water during aquarium hours of operation. We had 15 – 20 water trucks who were competing with aquarium visitors for access to the park.”

Since installing C6000 the aquarium now provides unattended access to fresh sea water. Water pick-up are encouraged to happen after hours between 6PM and 9AM.