Brewery Wastewater Treatment

Whether during the brewing process or for equipment cleaning, breweries require copious amount of water. Our industrial screening and treatment technologies can help breweries to optimise their wastewater treatment processes, reduce their water use and cut effluent discharge fees.

As the main ingredient in beer, water is a critical issue for breweries of every size. Not only in terms of product - it takes eight pints of water to make one pint of beer - but also in cleaning and related processes. Forward-thinking breweries strive to enact measures for water sustainability and conservation that go above and beyond what the law requires.

Our beverage processing water management solutions can help you reduce your wastewater treatment costs, protect expensive downstream processes, increase your by-product recapture, and help you to reuse your water faster and more efficiently.

Our solution: ultrafine rotating belt filtration

Finding the most efficient way to solve operational problems is key to any brewery’s success. The Hydro MicroScreen™ ultrafine rotating belt filter significantly reduces the load that breweries need to send to wastewater treatment processes and can prevent or reduce discharge fees. The Hydro MicroScreen™ outputs compacted and dewatered by-product that can be much more cost-effectively disposed of compared to treating it in an expensive wastewater treatment system.

On-site wastewater treatment systems are designed to efficiently treat liquids, but they are not so good at dealing with solids. By-product removed and dewatered before it enters wastewater treatment provides new revenue streams through selling it to secondary producers as fertilizer with reduced disposal costs while simultaneously preserving the capacity of downstream treatment equipment.

Reduce wastewater TSS and BOD and cut discharge fees

The UK has 2,500 small breweries that may be able to discharge to a sewer system. However, the high BOD and TSS levels can lead to discharge fees. In some locations, this may be a reasonable cost of doing business. In other locations, water costs can make or break an operational budget. Sending large volumes of high BOD and TSS wastewater to a sewer system has the potential to completely overwhelm municipal treatment plants, making disposal a potentially very serious issue.

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) are both very significant issues that breweries face in their wastewater. Typical domestic wastewater has a BOD and TSS of about 150 mg/L. Whereas typical brewery wastewater can have a BOD of 10,000 mg/L and a TSS of 5,000 mg/L.

TSS and BOD in wastewater are big issues for brewers. A brewery’s TSS comes from things like spent hops and grains and bits of yeast that are washed into wastewater during operations, equipment cleaning and CIP activities. Conventional wedgewire screens have been used for years to reduce TSS. However, despite being called “fine screens” this technology is not very effective at capturing the smaller particles which often cause the most problems for breweries.

Conventional screening systems typically remove solids with particle sizes of 500 micron and larger, while the Hydro MicroScreen™ removes solids as fine as 100 micron - effectively capturing particles that are 20% the size of the smallest size that conventional screening can remove. This provides a significant reduction in a brewery’s wastewater TSS over that provided by a typical wedgewire systems can.

Soluble BOD from sugar and alcohol is particularly problematic as it cannot be easily filtered out. However, the organic content of brewery TSS contributes to total BOD loading as particulate BOD that ultrafine belt filtration is so effective at reducing.

Cut aeration costs

The most common way to reduce soluble BOD is aeration. However, aeration systems are expensive to operate with the electrical costs of blowers or compressors rapidly eating away at profitability. Reducing TSS before it enters aeration systems maintains processing capacity and reduces electrical costs.

Aeration diffusers can’t operate effectively when smothered by solids which forces blowers and compressors to use more energy; the Hydro MicroScreen™ can remove those solids to preserve your capacity and reduce your electrical costs.

Side-streaming of brewery wastewater

Side-streaming helps to minimise some of the impacts of high strength wastewater by removing concentrated wastes at the source before it hits the drain. Side-stream systems can be as simple as putting covers over drains to much more complicated anaerobic digestion systems. Despite the best efforts to side-stream, a significant amount of high strength waste is going to enter a breweries wastewater through activities such as Lauter Tun, hopback cleaning and clean in place (CIP).

Case Studies

New England - beer

A New England brewery with an expensive anaerobic digestion system was looking to reduce TSS in their wastewater. The Hydro MicroScreen™ was piloted at the facility, and lab analysis of the pilot showed an average removal rate of 82% TSS. While COD was not the primary target of the system, the system provided the added bonus of removing 36% of COD.

Read more: Hydro MicroScreen™ removes 82% TSS for New England brewery

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