I noted several articles yesterday about the above topic, and was intrigued. I admit, I have not done my own research, as my time is extremely limited at the moment, but both sources, huffingtonpost and abclocal/kgo are pretty reliable sources of information, although I note that both rely on an article written by Susanne Rust for California Watch. However, both links provided below have an internal link to a pdf report from the State Resources Control Board you can download.
“Last week, the State Water Resources Control Board exempted the aquarium [PDF] from a state ban on dumping wastewater in a marine protected zone.
The board decided the aquarium’s conservation and public education benefits far outweigh any dangers posed by the millions of gallons of treated fish, bird and mammal waste it dumps back into the bay.
“The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s beneficial uses include extensive public outreach and education on the marine environment, basic water quality research, and research to determine the needs and improve the quality of existence for marine life,” said David Clegern, a spokesman for the water board.
According to a report [PDF] released by the board earlier this year, the aquarium takes in about 1,400 gallons of seawater a minute, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It then discharges more than 2 million gallons a day. The system is open, meaning seawater is pumped in and discharged continually.
The board acknowledges the discharge does contain waste, albeit “at very low levels.” The only exceptions noted were copper in one seawater sample and chlorine in others.
Copper is known to be harmful to marine organisms, damaging creatures’ gills, livers, kidneys and nervous systems. Chlorine can be lethal to many organisms, including salmon and oysters, at low levels. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/monterey-bay-aquarium-wastewater-dumping_n_1031276.html)
The same article by Susanne Rust for California Watch, is also posted to: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/state&id=8405320