The mission of Sea Research Foundation is to educate students, train specialists, study wildlife, rescue stranded animals and explore the world’s oceans. Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, a division of Sea Research Foundation, is a family destination that seeks to steward oceans and aquatic creatures and, through outreach, teach people about the fragile ecosystem around them. Nearly 750,000 guests visit the award-winning aquarium annually to see more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only beluga whales.

As the director of facilities, Ken Backofen is tasked with helping make sure that the guests’ first impression is a good one. The job is no easy task thanks to every pigeon, sparrow and seagull that have made the aquarium front entrance area their home. Because where there are birds, there is guano.

In the past, prepping for the days’ visitors meant hosing down the front entrance area. That was until the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection expressed its disapproval. They said rainwater could go down the storm drains, but water used for cleaning the area could not.

Backofen had to come up with an alternative to clean the aquarium entrance. To reclaim as much water as possible during the cleaning process, he purchased a ride-on scrubber, and found it did that and more. The machine also contributed to the green goals of the organization.

“Going green is very important to our organization and goes very well with our mission, which is ‘to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration,’” he says.

Working with and around animals, small children and other guests, the aquarium staff uses various green products and is a strong proponent for recycling.

“We reclaim anything we can,” says Backofen. That includes water.

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Chemical-Free Scrubber Cleans Outdoor Space