Waste Water Management
System optimization and increasing capacities  
by Elutriate Systems

Well the season is over and it appears to be a very bountiful year, with late season heat and with the rain holding off long enough to bring in the grapes.  This article is for wineries concerned about their waste water system, which includes about every winery I have ever spoken with in California, Oregon and Washington.

Elutriate Systems is pleased to announce the successful start-up of two waste water systems, Bio Reactors, in California, one located in Lodi and the other in Santa Rosa.  They are of particular interest in that the facilities represent two different aspects of the wine industry facing similar challenges.

 The new systems located in Lodi, represents a traditional winery with an adjacent 200 acres of vineyard.  The winery like many others was permitted by the county and began operation without the state’s WDR (Waste Discharge Requirements permit).  Well low and behold a disgruntled employee reported the lapse and the method used of wastewater discharge and the resulting bad odors.  Both the state regional water quality control officer and the health department became involved and the situation became nasty quickly.

 Elutriate Systems installed a Bio Reactor system and with the great results of the system (BOD levels incoming of 30,000 ppm and discharge levels of 1,000 ppm during crush) headed off potential legal action from the state.  The winery is currently off the RWQCB (Regional Water Quality Control Boards) hit list and is awaiting the issuance of the WDR.  The moral of the story, if you do not have a WDR your operation is in jeopardy.

 The Santa Rosa Bio Reactor installation provided a great wastewater solution to a newer development in the wine industry.  With the softening of the wine industry, after the stock market collapse, a new wine industry has developed, wine storage.  The facility is located in an industrial park and discharges to a local municipality, which requires a BOD level of less that 250 ppm.  The long and short of it is the system performs as designed, the county is quite happy and so are the owners.

 A Bio Reactor is a very effective means of digesting/consuming high levels of BOD.  The high levels of BOD are caused by the dissolved sugars in the wastewater and are typical in wineries, fruit, juice and beverage processors.  During crush these levels of BOD can range up to 30,000 ppm or greater.  Sonoma and Napa counties require a BOD level of discharge to be less that 40 ppm, while other areas require 100 ppm per acre of loading.

 Bio Reactors systems are modeled after the traditional sewer systems and are known as RAS (return activated sludge systems).  As a system they are developed based upon a linking of equipment all with a particular task, any weak link in the system causes poor results.  The systems are set-up as follows; the effluent is pumped to a rotary screen and then pumped into the first Bio Reactor tank(s) where it is pH adjusted to 6.8-7.2.  The Bio Reactor is aerated with a very efficient rotary blower and distributed with fine bubble diffusers.  This method of aeration is 3 times more efficient that floating aerators at converting electricity to dissolved oxygen.  The reduced effluent gravity flows to a clarifier where the suspended bacteria, sludge is returned to the incoming wastewater stream.  This returning of the bacteria/sludge (the critters that eat the sugars) is what creates a very high level of bacteria in the system.  The more ants eating at the picnic basket the faster the food is devoured.  The excess sludge makes an excellent soil amendment and is consistent with Bio Dynamic vineyard management.

Bio Reactors added ahead of an existing ponding system enable the system to handle increased loading.

 Glenn Wensloff, a wastewater engineer, who heads Elutriate Systems, developed the newsletter. Visit the website and review the already published articles about wastewater solutions and completed projects.  Elutriate Systems is offering a free booklet “An Operators Guide to Winery Waste Water Systems” please email for your copy.  Visit our booth #1605 ground floor (mosh pit) at the ASEV Sacramento Wine show in January.