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Containment Standards for Facilities Handling Aquatic Animal Pathogens - First Edition
Chapter 5 - Decontamination Processes

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Decontamination processes used for all contaminated or potentially contaminated materials must be in place. All decontamination and waste management procedures must be in accordance with applicable federal, provincial and municipal regulations. It is the facility's responsibility to ensure that the decontamination method used is effective against the microorganisms handled under the conditions present at that facility. Decontamination parameters, such as time, temperature and chemical concentration, must be clearly defined and must be effective against the microorganisms of concern. Validation of the selected decontamination process must be submitted to the OBCS for review. The decontamination process must also be monitored regularly to ensure its efficacy. Clear and strict procedures must be in place to support daily decontamination and monitoring.

One of the most critical challenges when dealing with live aquatic animal containment is the volume of water that needs to be decontaminated. Ensuring that the microorganisms are effectively inactivated prior to discharging the waste into the environment is crucial. In order to prevent the discharge of untreated waste, a redundant effluent treatment system or holding system must be in place. In addition, the decontamination system must be equipped with alarms to detect a failure and with sampling ports to verify successful decontamination. Decontaminated liquid waste released from the effluent treatment system must meet all applicable regulations (bylaws pertaining to temperature, chemical/metal content, suspended solids, oil/grease, biochemical oxygen demand, etc.) Since decontamination technologies and testing protocols are constantly evolving, it is not possible to prescribe one or more specific protocols at present. Until these technologies are validated, each proposal will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Live aquatic animal containment facilities pose additional challenges for effective decontamination of liquid effluent since the method of decontamination may render treated products detrimental to aquatic resources. For example, when chemical residues (e.g., chlorine and ozone) are not neutralized prior to release they can generate noxious fumes and water-borne residues or by-products (e.g., bromine in salt water) that can be harmful to aquatic animals and humans if inhaled, absorbed or ingested. Other types of treatment, such as heat, may require post-treatment cooling of the decontaminated waste before discharge into municipal drains or waterways.

The waste treatment area or facility must be designed to the same aquatic containment level as the containment zone unless it is a completely closed and contained system. If these areas are separated, all contaminated materials transferred between the two areas must be contained. This applies to off-site waste disposal as well as waste treatment carried out in a separate area of a larger facility.

The Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals published by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH; founded as Office International des Épizooties (OIE))Footnote 7 provides disinfection guidelines for finfish, mollusc and crustacean aquaculture operations. Additional measures may be required based on a local risk assessment. Although not specifically aimed at containment waste decontamination, the principles and physical/chemical processes described in the manual may be applicable to the design of a waste treatment system.

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