Case Study: Bio Augmentation Program Rebalances Food Processor’s Wastewater System

A food processing facility in the Upper Midwest was experiencing an upheaval due to a breakdown in its processing equipment and production changes, which allowed a high level of fats, oils and greases (FOG ) to pass into its waste stream.

The additional FOG that was released into the aeration basin was not sufficiently removed during the primary treatment. As a result, the increased load on the aeration system puts pressure on the bacteria active in the system and reduces the effectiveness of the treatment. With FOG and other contaminants not being effectively removed, the FOG began to settle in the aeration basin and created a two-foot-thick plug of grease. Therefore, wastewater could not be discharged to the municipality and was instead redirected to the facility’s retention ponds.

Had the problem not been addressed, the facility would have continued to experience poor contaminant removal, increased surcharges, and extended recovery times of four to eight weeks. The facility already had a long-term partnership with Kurita America and its local representative, who had been providing bio augmentation solutions for over five years. Bio Augmentation is the addition of specific bacteria to stabilize and improve the efficiency of biological treatment systems, including the removal of FOG and soluble Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and other contaminants.

Solution/Approach

Kurita America’s enforcement team took samples from the facility and performed a micro-examination on site. The samples were then sent to the internal laboratory for further analysis. Kurita America collects these types of samples to identify active bacteria in the system. In this case, Kurita America recommended a bioaugment program to help eliminate the FOG in the system.

Based on the analysis and review of the facility’s needs, the aeration basin had become overloaded and biodeficient. Essentially, the bacterial population in the aeration basin was unable to thrive and remove necessary contaminants in its current state. Kurita America recommended the blended microbial supplements of KURIBIO 8002 and KURIBIO 8018 to provide much-needed micronutrients and specific bacteria designed to stabilize the system.

KURIBIO 8002 contains a combination of specially selected and patented micro-organisms suitable for degrading FOG, and is designed for food processing wastewater applications containing fats, oils and greases. KURIBIO 8002 improves chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency and maintains plant stability by degrading FOG. KURIBIO 8018 is a liquid formulation containing selectively adapted bacterial spores, enzymes and degradable surfactants. Beneficial microorganisms in KURIBIO 8018 have an affinity with FOG and attach themselves to contaminants and degrade these contaminants in place.

Results

The facility was able to continue normal operations while Kurita America worked to improve the capabilities of the aeration basin by removing the 12-week FOG cap with bio Augmentation. Long-term results are about avoiding disruption in the future and knowing that a proven solution exists.

Much of the success has come from Kurita America’s ability to recognize upset and performing the micro exams to identify bacteria and recommend a product to combat FOG overload. Patience is the key to any bio Augmentation support, and in this case the Kurita America team implemented a dosing schedule for the bacteria along with the follow-up micro-exams which indicated that the health of the pelvis ventilation in recovery.

Micro-examinations usually provide indicators of growth of microorganisms before the clear visual difference that took nearly three months to materialize. This improved operation will not slow down production or stop it to recover the aeration basin. This application is a one-stop solution for a disturbed condition, so no additional long-term testing or dosing is needed to keep the system out of what the facility is currently doing.

Kurita America’s innovative technologies solved this long-term customer’s most complex challenges to deliver optimal results while conserving natural resources for a better, more sustainable world.

Shawn Dittrich is a senior account manager at Kurita America, working in the Upper Midwest. Shawn has over 15 years of experience in the water treatment industry. Shawn holds a bachelor’s degree from North Michigan University and is a certified water technologist and member of the Association of Water Technologies.

Daryl Mandoza is a product manager for wastewater treatment solutions at Kurita America, specializing in solid liquid separation. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Augsburg and has worked in the water treatment industry for over 20 years.

Ryan H. Bowman