The wastewater produced by a Kansas bacon processing facility contains a high concentration of fats, oils, greases and sanitation chemicals. The water from the facility’s original dissolved air flotation and chemical treatment process was not compliant with the local biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) requirements.
To help the plant comply with these sewer discharge limitations, Kemco Systems designed and installed a ceramic microfiltration (CMF) system  with a reverse osmosis (RO) component that treats 100 gal per minute.
The CMF system removes emulsified oils, greases and total suspended solids (TSS) from the wastewater. The filtered water then is treated by the RO membrane, which removes dissolved contaminants such as salt. The result is water that is suitable for reuse in other areas of the facility’s operations.
Raw wastewater from the plant contains approximately 5,300 mg/L each of oil and grease and suspended solids, and 5,500 mg/L of BOD. After the CMF and RO treatment, oil and grease are reduced to 6.9 mg/L and TSS to non-detectable levels. BOD is reduced to 36 mg/L.
The project began in November 2012 and was completed by the end of December of the same year. Since beginning operations, the system has processed more than 27 million gal of wastewater.
“The system has exceeded expectations for performance in terms of consistency and water quality,” said Gerard Van Gils, vice president of Kemco Systems. “We are particularly proud that we have been able to demonstrate the ability of the membranes to produce excellent water quality without problems of membrane fouling. We feel this project demonstrates the next level of treatment possible for all food processors, to enable them to meet the environmental and sustainability goals of the future.”