April 22, 2019 | 54° F

Strategies to deal with water contamination should be addressed

Although the effects of water supply contamination from aquaculture are increasingly recognized, they are point sources for just a small proportion to land-based pollutants. The nutrient-rich waste may cause eutrophication, a condition that occurs when a high concentration of nitrogen or phosphorus is in the waterway and causes an excessive growth of algae. The toxic algae blooms would reduce the water clarity and deplete dissolved oxygen, which is called the hypoxia environment or the “dead” zone. This environmental condition kills fish and other aerobic species in water. The wastewater discharged with a high concentration of N or P could flow around and cause problems both locally and downstream. The aquaculture waste dramatically changes the environment, and the environment degradation lasts for a long time, which makes the pollution issue more complex. 

The continuous wastewater discharge without treatments could lead to the remarkable elevation of the total organic matter contents and cause considerable economic lost. The factors that affect the quality and quantity of aquaculture waste include culture system characteristics, the choice of species, the feed quality management and, also, the waste treatment strategies. Rutgers University professor Dr. Julie Fagan and student researchers, myself included, are conducting a research study on the aquaculture waste and water pollution. We plan to arrange an online seminar system, which will utilize the crowd wisdom of the general public, to educate the large industrial polluters on how to feed fish and manage wastewater properly. Also, we will collect consequences of polluted aquifer system as case studies to encourage the industrial polluters to run their businesses properly and be friendly to the environment. 

Qi Zhang is a Rutgers University student majoring in environmental science.

Qi Zhang

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