A beef packing operation was experiencing high biological oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS) in its wastewater effluent. The effluent from the facility is sent to the local municipality’s POTW (publicly owned treatment works), resulting in surcharges ranging from $35,000 to as much as $140,000 per month. The average monthly cost for exceedances was $45,000.
The plant’s wastewater pond sludge depth was continually increasing, which reduced the residence time of water passing through it. This low residence period led to inadequate time for the existing bacteria to consume the BOD. As a result, the lack of BOD degradation meant that the facility was unable to meet the discharge limits set forth by the POTW.
Veolia Water Technologies and Solutions personnel audited the site to determine how the wastewater treatment of the beef processing facility could be improved. It was suggested that using specially designed bacteria could reduce the sludge volume in the pond and improve BOD and TSS removal. The BioPlus BA3903 program, designed to reduce wastewater sludge level, was recommended for evaluation in the system.
Treatment began by inoculating the system with the BioPlus BA3903. During the four-month trial period, the effluent quality sent to the POTW improved, resulting in a reduction of surcharges by ~61%, so the trial was deemed successful and the treatment was maintained. In the following two years, the BioPlus BA3903 treatment has enabled the plant to reduce its effluent’s BOD by an average of 33%, and TSS by 51%. These reductions have saved the customer approximately 48% in surcharges, saving more than $21,000 per month, or $250,000 per year with the continued use of the program.
The BioPlus BA3903 solution also eliminated the need for dredging, which allowed the plant to maintain their required methane production with no cost or downtime associated with dredging outages.