TenCate Geosynthetics Netherlands bv

Duck Pond Cellars (Lagoon Cleanout) - Case Study


Courtesy of TenCate Geosynthetics Netherlands bv

TenCate develops and produces materials that function to increase performance, reduce costs, and deliver measurable results by working with our customers to provide advanced solutions.


Wineries around the world utilize waste lagoons to deposit the waste products from the wine making process.  This includes the pulpy residue, known as 'pomace', and the insoluble material (or liquid sediments) known as 'lees'. These waste products often produce unpleasant odors and lead to environmental concerns.

This was the issue facing Duck Pond Cellars, an award-winning winery located in Oregon's beautiful Williamette Valley. Their on-site lagoon was full of pomace and lees, and required cleanout.

An innovative approach to long-term solids management and water quality was offered by Peter Evans, a consulting engineer. Evans suggested using Geotube units in tandem with a man-made wetland or subsurface flow (SFF) system. The first order of business, however, was to clean out the winery's lagoon before creating the Geotubedewateringtechnology/SFF water treatment system {see Figure 1).


The objective of the project design was to modify the existing wastewater treatment system and replace it with the Geotube unit/SFF alternative in order to remove primarily biological oxygen demand (BOD) and the total suspended solids (TSS).

The steps in the design are (Evans, 2006):

  • Pretreatment of the pomace and lees with a cationic polymer;
  • Solids capture in a Geotube unit;
  • Revitalize the 200,000 gallon holding pond to provide wastewater fines settling, aeration, and polishing;
  • Construct a SFF wetland, 37 ft. (11.3 m) wide and 116 ft. (35.4 m) long;
  • Establish treatment of 5,000 gal {18,927 I) per day with 10 day retention;
  • Redirect the effluent either for use in the winery or into a shallow irrigation/ groundwater recharge plot.

Dewatering with Geotube  technology is a three-step process. In the confinement stage, the Geotube container is filled with dredged waste materials. The Geotube container's unique fabric confines the fine grains of the material.

In the dewatering phase, excess water simply drains from the Geotube container. The decanted water is often of a quality that can be reused or returned for processing or to native waterways without additional treatment

In the final phase, consolidation, the solids continue to density due to desiccation as residual water vapor escapes through the fabric. Volume reduction can be as high as 90 percent


Clean out of the Duck Pond Cellars lagoon utilized a 45 ft. (13.7 m) circumference by 100 ft. (30.5 m| standard, in-stock Geotube unit.
Figure 2 shows the cationic polymer metering system which injects the conditioner into a simple serpentine mixing chamber before injection into the Geotube unit.

Total volume of the lagoon involved the dewatering of 300,000 gallons of wastewater at 2% in situ TSS. This yielded 165 cy (132 cm) or 25 dry tons of dried (22% TSS to date) pomace and lees.

The pumping rate was 250 GPM with the objective of achieving 28% TSS after eight weeks of dewatering.

Figure 3 shows the completely filled Geotube unit next to the lagoon. Figure 4 shows the cleaned lagoon with an aeration system now in place. The dewatered lagoon material will eventually be applied to the adjacent pinot noir grape vineyards.

This cleanup project is ongoing and the Geotube container is working effectively. In fact, odors are no longer coming from the winery's lagoon, neighbor complaints have ended, and Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality is satisfied and no further threats of citations have been issued.

According to Greg Fries, Duck Pond Cellars' wine maker and operations manager, the company is opening another winery operation in eastern Washington and intends to utilize Geotube units in this new location.

Evans concluded, 'the Geotube Dewatering Technology solved the winery's immediate problem by eliminating the odors and cleaning the lagoon. Geotube units will be a permanent solution to managing the winery's waste stream.'

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