Calgary Zoo Foundation -Septic System Design Special Project

Septic System Design for the Calgary Zoo Foundation

Calgary Zoo Foundation – special project Septic System Design east of Calgary

I was hired about a year ago by the Calgary Zoo Foundation to work with them on a complete, multi-faceted septic system design for their special project on some raw land just east of Calgary.  

The special project includes several buildings and areas for a variety of animals and birds, as well as living quarters for researchers and groundskeepers, a clinic, and a lab among others, all spread out over 100 acres of beautiful, untouched land.  

The challenge here is that each building and animal care area has different needs, different flows, different sewage strengths, which all had to be considered with the septic system design. 

I started with several visits to meet with the zoo engineers who were leading the project.  We discussed the overall plans and goals, and what they would ideally like to see.   Most of them were familiar with city sewer systems, and hadn’t worked much with onsite wastewater (septic) systems, so it was great to help them understand the differences and nuances.  

Marmots at the Calgary Zoo

Marmots at the Calgary Zoo

We visited several of the existing areas at the Zoo and I took samples of wastewater that was being produced.  This was important to get a baseline for each different enclosure, so that I could design properly to the expected strength.  

Flows were also a concern… especially when the keepers are washing out the pens (which happens frequently).  Using an in-line flow meter, I was able to get data on what to expect for how much water they would use each time they wash out a pen.  

The easiest part of the project was figuring out the strengths and flows from the residence… as we have alot of guidance and data of expected volumes and strengths within our Standard of Practice.  

In the end, the project included several different types of septic systems, customized for each area.  The residence wastewater is collected in a two-chambered tank and then pumped almost 700ft to another set of tanks near clinic, before it goes through an Advanced Treatment unit and then out to the soil final treatment area.  

This was a great large commercial project to add to my portfolio, and for such a great cause.  The project is currently under construction, and I am excited to visit it once it has been completed.   Many thanks to the great staff at the Calgary Zoo Foundation (like Pierre and Ralph) who’s hard work and dedication has pushed this project forward.  

Even though a hippo area isn’t part of the project, I thought it would be great to post a picture of a hippo…. because every loves the hippos!

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