The Alma Aquaculture Research Station (AARS), located near Elmira, Ontario, is a state-of-the-art aquaculture research and development facility which became fully operational in April of 1993. The facility is the backbone of the Fish Production Research Program providing up-scale systems for aquaculture researchers at the University of Guelph and other institutions. The quarantine unit has successfully introduced Atlantic salmon and Arctic char and new strains of spring-spawning rainbow trout to the Ontario aquaculture industry. In concert with the Aquaculture Centre, various education and training programs have been developed at the graduate, undergraduate, college, and high-school level and have been very well received.
The Alma Aquaculture Research Station is located 37 kilometres north-west of the University of Guelph, and six kilometres west of the town of Alma. The property consists of 21.4 hectares of land. The 1.6 hectare fenced compound houses the station buildings and ponds and the remaining 19.8 hectares is comprised of hardwood and/or cedar bush and fields cultivated with alfalfa or conifers. The site was chosen because of it's high-yielding aquifer and proximity to the University of Guelph.
The AARS consists of ten buildings and facilities with a total floor space of 2,616 m2.
- Administration Building - 3 photoperiod-controlled wet labs, a large wet lab, bench lab, offices and conference rooms, washrooms and equipment storage areas.
- Quarantine Building and Recirculation - 3 isolation/recirculation wet labs, office and a standby electrical generator.
- Hatchery Building - an incubation room and wet lab.
- Spawning Shed
- B/C Lab Building - 2 wet labs, office and bench lab.
- Utilities Building - work shop, pole barn and feed storage room.
- Water Treatment Centre and Water Pumping Centre
- Waste-Water Treatment Centre - for settling solids from the wastewater discharge.
- Outdoor Facility - concrete circular rearing tanks and fibreglass raceway tanks.
Reuse Water. Up to 100% of the treated water can be passed through the Waste Water Treatment Centre and then pumped to the Water Treatment Centre and is used in the outdoor fish rearing units, after which time it is treated in the Wastewater Treatment Centre and the outdoor ponds prior to discharge into a receiving stream. This water reuse capability greatly reduces the amount of water that is extracted from the aquifer.