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Test and evaluation of a commercial scale ultraviolet effluent water disinfectant system for fish processing plants



Canada's reputation for high quality fish and seafood products depends on keeping the wild and farmed aquatic animals protected against serious infectious diseases. Infectious agents such as naturally occurring viral or bacterial diseases, can spread through water and can infect fish and shellfish either commercially harvested or farm-reared. The effluent water of fish processing facilities (containing blood water with large amounts of organics) may also contain high concentrations of infectious pathogens. Proper disinfection procedures and neutralization of any potential bio-hazardous agent are important to reduce the impact of the discharged effluent in the environment and the risk of exposure and spread of pathogens.

Currently, the technology used for waste water disinfection at fish processing plants is largely dependent on chemicals that are eventually released into the environment. Processing plants screen effluent for particles larger than 0.5 mm, which are collected and transported off site. However, the remaining blood water is generally released into the marine environment for natural dilution to take place. Some fish processors disinfect blood water effluent with chlorine prior to discharging it into the environment. This type of treatment is labour intensive and leaves room for miscalculation and contamination of the environment with a toxic substance. In addition, the efficacy of this technology with respect to pathogens elimination is not well understood. Clearly, alternate and efficient technologies are needed to mitigate any bio-hazardous threat fish processing effluent may impose to the surrounding marine environment.

Lateral technology transfer of an existing waste water treatment strategy in the seafood processing industry is the most direct approach for implementing a cost-effective and environmentally conscientious industrial treatment process. Implementation of a UV sterilization system to neutralize viral and bacterial pathogens associated with fish processing plant effluent is one of the alternatives. This project will address both the testing and monitoring of an industrial grade U.V. sterilization system for neutralizing total viral and bacterial pathogens in processing plant effluent.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2009 - 2010


Pacific: Strait of Georgia

Principal Investigator(s)

Kyle Garver

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