Canneries that package fruits, vegetables, and seafood products tend to create less dangerous wastewater than many other food processing businesses, but the murky remains of tomatoes and shrimp can still cause damage to local waterways. Managing your wastewater treatment processes on site allows you to control every step and potentially save a lot of money in the process. Streamline and modernize your cannery wastewater treatment system with these five tips.
Encourage Biodiversity in Ponds
Settling and screening is often sufficient for many seafood and vegetable products that end up in cans, so many facilities only rely on old-fashioned drying beds or ponds. Since canning is often seasonal and increases suddenly, these beds or ponds often dry out between uses and lose the valuable bacteria and other microscopic life that process the wastewater as it separates. Increasing the biodiversity in the settling areas by keeping them wet and maintained year round can prevent odors and other issues when a pond is overwhelmed by a fresh flow of water.
Spread Solids Carefully
Of course, settling beds still leave you with solids that need harvested after the particulate settles out of the liquid. These solids are often distributed onto a field or forested area to break down slowly into the soil, which is a fine process as long as the solids are prepared first. For example, in the past farmers have accepted contracts to process solid cannery waste that was high in sodium, which resulted in ruined agriculture land since very few plants can grow in soil with a high sodium content. Test solids regularly to ensure you're removing enough salt and chemical residues before the waste is sent away for spreading on open ground.
Sell What's Valuable
Those solids you're paying to ship away might actually be worth money if you can find the right buyer. If you're running a wastewater operation with relatively few chemical additives, you're likely harvesting usable plant matter and seafood residue that could be turned into paper, animal food, or even used to strengthen concrete. Solids usually need to be dried completely and powdered before being sent to the buyer, which requires extra processing equipment and space. Finding a middleman who buys raw cannery solids and handles the processing can help you tap into a modest income stream without having to expand your current facilities.
Stick to Surface Aeration
Aeration is essential for almost all types of wastewater processing, but it's especially important in the settling tanks and ponds so commonly used for canneries. Residue from canning vegetables, fruits, and seafood can produce very strong odors when allowed to become anaerobic, yet not all aeration equipment works equally well. Install aerators that affect the surface of each pond or tank, rather than deep units placed at the bottom of the tank, to manage how far odors spread to the surrounding area. When aerators are located at the bottom, settling sludge can get mixed in with the air bubbles to create a stronger smell. Surface aeration is enough to keep oxygen levels consistent in most systems.
Rely On Activated Sludge
Finally, you may need more than just natural bacteria levels in your wastewater processing system, especially for acidic tomato products and salty seafood remnants. A sequencing batch reactor is a special tank in which a sludge full of specific bacteria and protozoa are used, along with settling, to clean a specific amount of wastewater. These reactors are good at handling large loads of concentrated material, which makes them perfect for the uneven flows usually produced by cannery activities. They're particularly good at removing sodium, making these reactors essential for companies that want to spread or sell their solids. Activated sludge is a powerful yet natural technique that is easy to add to an existing wastewater treatment plan.
For more information on water treatment plans, contact a company like Waterman911.Share
2 November 2016
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