Foster Farms is committed to environmental stewardship, and one of the core tenants of its sustainability program is freshwater conservation and reuse. The company was looking to reduce or eliminate sewer surcharges from its processing facility and help meet its corporate environmental sustainability goals.
The plant was using a multistage grease trap to float greases and oils and settle solids as its treatment process prior to discharge to the sewer. A pump truck was hired to remove, haul and dispose of solids on a daily basis. The facility was was paying monthly sewer surcharges as the plant expanded, increasing volume to the grease trap, which reduced detention time and made it less effective.
“Foster Farms had a number of issues they needed to address on the project so the end goal was multifaceted,” said Matthew Bokenkroger, Hydro Intl. industrial sales manager. “Reducing sewer surcharge fees and loading rates on existing treatment processes were primary drivers, [and] these are two of the most significant benefits the Hydro MicroScreen provides food processing operations.”
The facility is located in Compton, Calif., surrounded by residential and light commercial buildings. Foster Farms was familiar with treatment processes such as screening, equalization and dissolved air flotation, requiring compressed air and chemistry. Odors and solids disposal are two of the many concerns with a conventional system. Potential for odors from a conventional system at this residential location did not align with the facility’s environmental commitment to be a good neighbor.
“Foster Farms had a large wish list of features for their new treatment system that conventional technologies were not capable of providing in a small footprint,” Bokenkroger said. “In addition to the primary goal of reducing loading and surcharge fees, they also wanted to reduce the weight and volume of solids removed to reduce their transportation and disposal costs.”
The facility had limited space for expanding wastewater treatment facilities, but the small footprint design of the Hydro MicroScreen allowed it easily fit within the plant layout.
Many types of technologies would require a separate solids dewatering and compression system that would add significantly to the overall treatment process footprint and cost. The Hydro MicroScreen has an integrated dewatering and compression zone that outputs dried compacted solids and reduced the plant’s hauling and disposal costs. This may provide alternate disposal options for the solids other than hauling to a landfill.
The plant wanted a system that was operator-friendly and did not require expensive chemical additions. The Hydro MicroScreen comes with a user-friendly programmable logic controller panel with an intuitive human machine interface that allowed plant staff to easily optimize operations for changing conditions and does not require chemicals to provide its performance.
In comparison to a conventional pre-treatment system, project costs to install a MicroScreen were significantly lower, as was the footprint. The MicroScreen system utilizes only 5 hp versus an estimated 100 hp for the conventional system. It also uses less water and no chemistry. Solids hauling costs are lower with alternate disposal options possible. Foster Farms continued to rent the pilot screen while its production MicroScreen unit was being built. During the rental period, sewer surcharges were eliminated, further increasing the return on investment for Foster Farms.
“Hydro Intl.’s core goal is solving many of our customer’s most challenging wastewater problems to build long-term satisfied relationships,” Bokenkroger said. “Foster Farms has been very satisfied with the performance of the system, and as a result, we are completely satisfied with the results and looking forward to working with Foster Farms in the future.
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