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The brewing process yields wastewater that is typically high in solids, which can cause a burden for municipal wastewater treatment utilities.
When Sierra Nevada Brewing encountered these problems, it took the initiative to solve them while creating a win-win solution for all parties involved. A key component of that solution is a Smith & Loveless Addigest wastewater treatment system.
The brewer enjoys the status of being one of the 10 largest micro-brewers in the U. S., producing several hundred thousand barrels per year from its northern California location. Driven by a philosophy that incorporates quality production with environmental responsibility, the brewer sets standards with its successful tasty ales and its noble environmental practices.
This was typified when the city proposed applying surcharges to the brewery for the high strength wastewater entering the city system. In response, the brewer chose to pretreat all of its wastewater onsite and reuse as much as possible, limiting the demand put upon the city system while maximizing many recycling benefits.
In consultation with its engineer, Sierra Nevada designed a comprehensive two-step treatment scheme that features anaerobic treatment followed by a Smith & Loveless Addigest treatment system for aerobic polishing prior to reuse and discharge.
The entire on-site scheme handles up to 0.3 mgd with initial high-strength loadings. Following the anaerobic reactor, the influent characteristics into the Addigest typically ranges between 300-500 mg/L BOD/TSS.
In this case, the process-flexible Addigest design incorporates a single aeration zone (28 x 50 x 18 ft; volume of nearly 175,000 gal.) and three hopper-style clarifiers. Smith & Loveless met the brewer’s unique specification by designing aeration basin internals for concrete tankage while providing all three clarifiers in steel packages with stainless steel internals.
In fact, during construction, the design loadings and capacities were increased to the current levels by 50%. Smith & Loveless was able to accommodate the changes without significant disruption to the project’s construction and original costs.
The wastewater treatment system routinely polishes the anaerobic stream down to 30 mg/L BOD, allowing the water to be recycled onsite and reused for spray irrigation and other purposes around the facility. The rest of the water is discharged safely into the city sewer, actually helping to dilute the solids levels at the WWTP.
In keeping with a proactive environmental approach, the biosolids generated in the treatment process are sent to a nearby university’s cattle feed operation. Because of their resourceful approaches, Sierra Nevada maintains favor with its neighboring community and has been cited for environmental excellence. Smith & Loveless is proud to be a small part of this success.