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Georgia Aquarium Exceeds Sustainability Goals

High rate sand filters protect 100,000 animals from around the world


Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, has been committed to work on behalf of all marine life through education, preservation, exceptional animal care and research across the globe since its opening in 2005. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Aquarium’s mission is to be an entertaining, educational and scientific institution featuring exhibits and programs of the highest standards. To achieve that, Georgia Aquarium needed a reliable, effective water treatment system.


The life support systems (LSS) team at Georgia Aquarium developed a process of denitrification using fiberglass-reinforced plastic vessels, custom-built by Evoqua’s Neptune-Benson, that house beneficial bacteria. This process reduces nitrates that form in the Aquarium’s 6.3-million-gallon Ocean Voyager exhibit, and one of the largest indoor aquatic habitats in the world. Evoqua’s Neptune-Benson supplied almost 100 sand filter vessels and 10 million gallons of artificial seawater to support the Aquarium’s LSS processes.

Georgia Aquarium needed a supplier for its LSS processes – which involve the upkeep of water and associated filtration systems to ensure water is both clean and healthy. LSS systems consist of a combination of sand filtration, protein skimming and ozone disinfection. The Aquarium sought a water filtration system that would boost its ability to treat and reuse water within exhibits. Saving water was key for Georgia Aquarium, as producing artificial seawater is expensive at 14 cents a gallon. Additionally, Georgia Aquarium’s commitment to sustainability required a solution that would allow for more water reuse to meet that goal.



Georgia Aquarium’s water filtration system – supplied by Evoqua’s Neptune-Benson® has successfully created a healthy balance of bacteria for its water habitats and allowed the Aquarium to save millions of dollars, and water consumption, through efficient water reuse, while leading the industry in water quality and clarity.

By reducing wastewater and make-up water, Georgia Aquarium avoids needing to replace vast quantities of water. Due to the cost of producing artificial seawater and the amount of water used within these exhibits, the filtration systems have the potential to save Georgia Aquarium nearly $1.5 million annually by reusing more than 99 percent of the 10 million gallons of water in all its exhibits across seven major galleries.

" The construction of the world’s largest aquarium required experienced suppliers and contractors we knew we could rely on. We selected Neptune Benson to manufacture all the sand filters for our facility. The support before, during, and after construction was outstanding. "

John Masson Director of Life Support Systems Georgia Aquarium

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