In 2018 we were requested to design aeration for the lagoons at Chimp Haven in Keithville, LA. Keithville is my home town and if you knew me and my brothers growing up, you would assume that it had a history of being a refuge for non-human primates.
Chimp Haven has a great mission and facility. The mission is “To provide and promote the best care of sanctuary chimpanzees and inspire action for the species worldwide.” It comprises care facilities and open-wooded sanctuary areas for the chimps to enjoy. The sanctuary areas are bordered by walls and lagoons. The lagoons contain them effectively since chimps do not swim. It also provides an open-expanse view for them to observe, as well as a way to observe them. The current capacity is 500 animals after their recent expansion. I have an animal-science degree and have worked in the veterinary industry. This is a top-notch facility with excellent staff and care in my opinion. Truly impressive. It is not a zoo, but it is open to the public two times per year.
Small waters are always a challenge to manage and maintain good water quality. These border lagoons are narrow and have a lot of shoreline. We did recommend aeration. Diffused aeration was the tool of choice. It is efficient and effective, as well as being easy to install in the landscape. There is no electricity in the water for an added amount of safety and the aeration doesn’t disturb the serene environment of the sanctuaries.
Diffused aeration injects air through self-weighted tubing to diffusers located at the bottom of the pond. Diffusers break up the air into rapidly rising, but dispersed, bubbles that bring the bottom, sour water in contact with the atmosphere at the surface. This literally helps the pond or lagoon breathe and this supports healthy ecology and water quality.
The first portion of the installation was in 2018 and the second day on the job involved record setting snow for Shreveport, LA as you will see from the photos. We were actually breaking ice to install the diffusers. Compressors were placed on the opposite side of the access road and a trench provided access for airlines under the roadway to deliver air to the lagoon. We recently finished the second portion of the installation on the expansion.
Joaquin joined us on the second trip and when he heard all the commotion of the chimpanzees getting excited and howling he said that he felt like he was in Jurassic Park. We did not see any velociraptors.
I have watched a lot of Tarzan and Gilligan’s Island growing up and I couldn’t resist a few animated attempts at getting the attention of the Chimps on the other side of the lagoon. They could care less. They are enjoying their peaceful existence and gave me no response.
Special thanks to Brantley Jones, Robert Arms, and Joaquin Spamer for being the best installation team and tolerating north Louisiana clay!