Reusing decommissioned wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), more recently called reclaimed water facilities (RWF), are proving to be a sustainable aquaculture system specifically as a nursery for fingerling production. In the 20th century, RWF became an integral part of urban communities. With stricter regulations and better methods for processing wastewater, many municipalities are now building new, larger facilities, and decommissioning the old ones, many of which include sedimentation ponds and tanks that could easily and economically be converted for aquaculture. The current practice is to needlessly demolish these decommissioned facilities instead of reusing them as fish culture facilities.  By using these facilities and retrofitting them for aquaculture, municipalities would avoid demolition costs, create new jobs, and generate revenue for their communities. Most of the new RWF are being built adjacent to the old, and would conveniently allow reclaimed water to be used for aquaculture.  These new facilities must meet EPA water quality criteria so the reclaimed water is safe for food fish production.  On-going studies at Kentucky State University have demonstrated high potential for production of consumer-safe fish at RWF.

Two facets of using decommissioned RWF for fish production contribute to sustainability.  One facet is the limitless supply of good quality water available from the RWF and the ability to direct the water outflow from the aquaculture operations back to the beginning of the treatment process so that there is no discharge of aquaculture generated waste products to the environment.  Another facet is that in some RWF with suitable environmental conditions, abundant zooplankton can be harvested from the RWF process tanks and fed to young fish.  Since paddlefish consume zooplankton even beyond the stage when they are very small, decommissioned RWF where zooplankton can be harvested can provide a highly sustainable location for paddlefish production.

Reuse of Decommissioned Wastewater Treatment Facilities
Copyright 2012, Kentucky State University - Frankfort, KY 40601

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