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Smithsonian National Zoological Park

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Ardurra prepared the design for rehabilitation of existing life support systems serving a 300,000-gallon Sea Lion Pool and a 125,000-gallon Seal Pool at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park in Washington, DC.

Phased construction involved comprehensive rehabilitation to replace aged, corroded or insufficiently sized equipment and piping, converting the freshwater pools to saltwater, adding ozone as a primary disinfectant, improving leaf and litter removal, increasing filtration, making efficient use of building space, and simplifying operations. Moreover, the rehabilitation adds two new life support systems for animal holding pools and a common backwash recovery system, all within a constrained site and constructed while the pools are kept in operation.

Past phases of the project included an intensive concept design report and a 3-D laser survey of the facility to document as-built conditions, all led by Ardurra staff. These efforts were instrumental in establishing the scope and feasibility of the rehabilitation project, which involves sustainable and innovative design to develop the facility into a model for energy and water conservation within the zoo and aquarium industry.

Ardurra staff provided life support system engineering and design services on numerous other projects at the Zoo. Prior experience includes design of bridging documents for design-build of the new Elephant Trails exhibit, planning for a Wetlands/Migratory Birds exhibit, and drafting of construction documents for the Amazonia exhibit. Amazonia is the Zoo’s largest and most complex exhibit, displaying fish such as arowana, river stingray and a variety of catfish in 50,000 gallons of aquaria. Ardurra staff also served on the Zoo’s Facilities Master Planning team.

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