Grand Rapids, Michigan

John Ball Zoo has expanded its facilities with the addition of a 35,200-gallon pygmy hippo habitat, complete with underwater viewing features and both indoor and outdoor habitat areas. This new $19.5 million exhibit incorporates specialized water treatment systems commonly known as Life Support Systems (LSS). The LSS for this habitat showcases an innovative design focused on recirculating and treating pool water to maintain the necessary water quality for the health of the animals and optimal underwater viewing.

The treatment processes involved in this system encompass coarse screening, dewatering, filtration, temperature control, ozonation, de-ozonation, and deaeration. Additionally, the LSS takes responsibility for managing the discharge of filter backwash into the sanitary sewer system and preparing incoming water. The design  criteria and processes implemented for the LSS in this exhibit are  tailored to meet the specific water quality requirements for underwater viewing. These criteria are influenced by factors such as the exhibit’s water volume, pool configuration, environmental factors, food loadings, and the types of animal species housed within the  habitat.