Fresno Backyard Harvest · Aquaponics at the Clovis Surface Water Treatment Plant – Gardening & Aquaponics

October 29, 2011

Clovis Surface Water Treatment PlantOn Friday I was invited to tour the aquaponics facility at the Clovis Surface Water Treatment Plant.  Leon Penney, the Water Production Manager for the City of Clovis, extended this invitation after learning about this blog.

The Clovis Surface Water Treatment Plant is capable of delivering up to 15 million gallons per day of clean drinking water to the city of Clovis, California.  And the city government is committed in educating everyone about where we get our water, and about the water cycle on our planet.  An excellent way of teaching people about the water cycle is to present a simple closed system – and this is where aquaponics has come in.

Mr. Penney is driving this aquaponics project along with his regular duties as Water Production Manager.  He has received assistance from the City of Clovis and the state of California – but more importantly the aquaponics demonstration system has received eager assistance and donations from local Clovis businesses.

The original plan for the system was pretty simple.  A tank of fish, some grow beds, and a sort of plastic and electrical conduit hoop house for everything.

Dome with nearby solar panelInstead, as you can see here, Lowes donated much of the materials needed to create a geodesic dome out of pressure treated lumber, Home Depot has assisted with some of the hardware.  The Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District assisted by giving the project a $2000.00 grant.  Guardian Glass and Anlin Windows have supplied tempered glass cut in the proper shapes for the dome.  Pacific Gas and Electric has supplied a 40 amp solar panel and the City of Clovis has provided a 15 amp solar panel – and when completed the entire aquaponics facility will be powered from solar and batteries.

I took plenty of pictures during the tour, and have them all available on my Flickr page.  I’ll also link to individual images of interest here.

The facility is still under construction, but it already houses donated fish, bluegill, bass and crappie all living together in an 800 gallon tank.  There are also a few Tilapia fingerlings left from an earlier purchased shipment.  They haven’t done very well.

Mr. Penney has also started building specialized 12 volt grow lights for the plants.  These lamps each contain two red LEDs and one blue LED for the mixture of mauve light needed for photosynthesis.  These are high output LEDs, so I was surprised at how much power they used.  One lamp will use just under 120 watts of power.  They will be placed on a timer to supplement the daylight.  When turned on, they are very bright!

You can see the whole photoset at my Flickr page.  If you have comments or questions for Mr. Penney, leave them here and I’ll direct them to him.

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