Stellar often partners with The Probst Group on wastewater treatment projects. Hank Probst, a partner with The Probst Group, contributed to this blog post.
Reducing the costs of wastewater treatment spent at an outside facility is leading many food processing plants to consider treating their wastewater on-site. In addition to treatment costs based on volume, municipalities typically impose a surcharge if the characteristics of the wastewater stream exceed the municipality’s typical domestic strength. It becomes an ROI issue and fairly easy for plants to justify.
Considerations for treating wastewater on-site:
1. The starting point for a plant considering treatment on-site is to gather as much data as possible with a clear understanding of flows relative to the municipal ordinance, contract and sewer use fees. A significant factor to consider is if there is co-mingling of sanitary waste with process waste. This will determine what treatment options may be viable for you. Realistic cost projections (capital and operating) are crucial to effective evaluation of various levels of treatment.
2. It’s important to plan for flexibility and adaptability and build them into the initial design. If you’re considering expanding the plant or changing your product mix in the future, the wastewater treatment system should be designed to fit those anticipated needs.
3. Consider reuse options. Wastewater is most often treated and reused for irrigation. It can also be treated and reused for refrigeration systems (i.e., condensers) or other non-potable uses.
4. Depending on the waste stream, sometimes it is viable to treat it anaerobically to yield a usable byproduct, such as methane. This can be used in a generator to create power or it can be piped back to the facility’s boiler to generate steam for the plant. Plants that produce high-strength waste – beverage plants, juice plants, dairy production, meat packing – can treat wastewater to generate gas to run basic functions within in the plant.