Biological pretreatment- your last resort

By May 19, 2015Treatment

So you have a brewery, your having wastewater issues of one sort or another, and you start thinking about wastewater treatment.  To sum up my position here, ‘No, don’t do it!’

If your brewery is connected to a sewer, your first step is to be clear on what your discharge requirements are and what your surcharges will be.  If they don’t make sense to you, contact me.  Where is the local wastewater treatment plants pain?  Is it BOD load?  Solids?  Temperature, pH, volume?  Money?  It’s important to be very clear about all of this, preferably before you buy the property.  What are some of your options?  Simple things would be to implement side streaming, do pH adjustment, measure your flow, do flow equalization, or implement diurnal loading (discharging wastewater overnight).  Talk to me for more information on any of this.

All of these things are relatively cheap compared to installing and operating a small biological wastewater treatment system.  Of course it all comes down to payback and ROI.  I wish I didn’t have to say that (I don’t even like the concept of money), but we aren’t doing what we do for the fun of it.  We’re in it to make money, certainly not to lose money, and we need to make the right financial choices for our business.

If your brewery or site is not connected to a sewer, things get complicated and expensive quick- especially if you are planning on significant production on that site.  Savings on cheap land will often get eaten up with wastewater costs.  You will certainly want to look at side streaming, or even hauling and land applying all of the brewery wastewater.  Use a septic system for just the toilets, sinks, and restaurant if you will have one.  If you want to look at a septic system, find out what the discharge requirements are for water entering the drain field.  Chances are you will not be able to meet them without significant pretreatment ($$$).  However, if you have no requirements, the county gives you the green light to dump anything, that doesn’t mean it will be easy.  Yeast is a matter of fact in brewery wastewater.  Like a horror movie, It Lives.  Yeast will make it’s way in to your drain field, grow, die, and accumulate in to a sludge.  Not good.  Talk to me for more information.

The point of all of this is don’t assume anything.  Requirements change with every city and county in the country.  Do your homework, ask questions, challenge what they say, be nice, and contact me if you get stuck.  Wastewater treatment is expensive.  It works, or at least it can work if it’s designed well, but you don’t want to go broke treating wastewater for your brewery.  If I was Buddhist, I could sum up my entire website with 2 words.  Pay attention.  But I’m not, so instead you get to read all of this.  Thank you:)

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