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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Brazil, Brian

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Aquacultural Engineering Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2003
Publication Date: November 1, 2003
Citation: Brazil, B.L. 2003. Water recirculation sytems at the national center for cool and cold water aquaculture. Proceedings of the Aquacultural Engineering Society. P. 100

Interpretive Summary: Research activities at the National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture (NCCCWA) began during the summer of 2001. The research is focused on developing improved strains of rainbow trout for eventual use by the industry. Located on the campus of the Leetown Science Center, the NCCCWA shares water resources with the USGS research programs. Efforts to conserve water have included the development and installation of a water recirculation for rearing fish used in selective breeding program. Water recirculation and treatment capacity has significantly increased the rearing capacity of a single culture room. The recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) can support the same mass of fish as currently maintained in three other fish culture rooms, all of which are operating as flow-systems. Water flow in the flow-through rooms is limited to a nominal rate of 473 liters/min, while in the recirculation system, the nominal flow rate is 1,320 liters/min. The design and configuration of the system were developed to maximize the number of rearing tanks connected to the system, while maintaining adequate room for normal husbandry activities. This paper describes the design basis for the various components as well as detailing innovation solutions to operational needs and concerns.

Technical Abstract: In 2001, the USDA opened its newly-completed aquaculture facility, the National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture (NCCCWA), in Kearneysville, West Virginia. The current research program centered on the development of rainbow strains that exhibit improved characteristics for economically important traits such as growth, disease resistance, and reproduction. The building was sited on the USGS Leetown Science Center largely because of the readily available water resources historically shown to have the capacity to support research activities of both agencies. As such, NCCCWA was constructed as a completely flow-through facility. Diminished water supplies resulting from a multi-year drought led to the installation of two water reuse systems. Installation of the reuse system increased the maximum water flow capacity through a given tank room by from 0.57 m3/min (150 gal/min) to 1.78 m3/min (470 gal/min) with a nominal design flow rate of 1.43 m3/min (380 gal/min). As originally constructed, the nominal flow rate through a tank room was 0.47 m3/min (125 gal/min). This paper discusses the design philosophy and rationale used to developed the rearing tank configuration and process equipment layouts. In developing the system configuration, utilization of existing infrastructure was a top priority in an effort to minimize the area needed for process equipment to maximize rearing volume in the tank room. Working within the constraints presented unique challenges, but also provided an opportunity for innovative design engineering. The end product has been a fully functional and relatively easily operated research system that incorporates practical concerns of the fish culturist without sacrificing sound reuse system engineering.

Last Modified: 8/31/2014
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