Complexity is a term often used in tasting rooms to describe a fine wine, although little thought and understanding is given to the complexity of treating winery wastewater. It is vital to understand not only the nature of winery wastewater, but the by‐products produced during the wine making process, such as juice acidity, lees, and cleaning agents that dictate the various constituents and concentrations encountered. Beyond the romanticized season of harvest and the demands created by crush, other activities that generate wastewater throughout the year include barrel washing, fermentation tank washing, and equipment cleaning from racking and bottling operations.
Unlike residential wastewater, winery wastewater usually does not contain pathogenic bacteria in the waste stream; however, Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) are found in significantly higher concentrations. In fact, BOD and TSS concentrations can be forty times as high as household wastewater with 12,000 mg/L BOD and 6,000 mg/L TSS typical during harvest activities. At other times of the year, the various winemaking activities create fluctuating flows, which create system over‐capacity concerns. The need for versatility in design and operation is key in selecting a winery wastewater treatment system.
There are several factors to consider in all winery wastewater treatment system projects. Determining the actual wastewater flows during crush (the highest wastewater generating operation at a winery) can be challenging. These flows are based on industry experience, regulatory agency calculations, as well as input and data from the winery itself. Misjudging the maximum design flow and pollutant concentrations can be devastating to a winery treatment system. However, oversizing a system can equally create functional problems and add unnecessary cost. A winery wastewater treatment system should have the flexibility to handle the high and low flows and loads. Most successful winery wastewater treatment systems include proper primary screening, a robust active aeration system followed by a clarifier, or membrane barrier to separate the treated effluent from the biological process. Additional key considerations include proper sizing and material selection of the treatment tanks to provide required biological retention time, surge capacity and sludge storage capability.
The Bio‐Microbics BioBarrier HSMBR winery wastewater treatment system takes the complexity out of treating winery wastewater with its simple, award‐ winning design and fully certified treatment process. Utilizing superior aeration capabilities in conjunction with durable flat sheet membrane technology, the modular and scalable design provides flexibility to wineries, ensuring optimum treatment throughout the year and lower operating costs. These proprietary units assure all effluent passes through the membrane making it virtually impossible to bypass the treatment process along with providing microfiltration and ultrafiltration resulting in consistent high quality effluent ready for water reuse.