A food processing facility in the Upper Midwest experienced a disruption due to a breakdown in their process equipment and production changes, which allowed high levels of fats, oils and greases (FOG) to enter their waste stream.
The FOG that was additionally fed into the aeration tank was not sufficiently removed during the primary treatment. As a result, the increased load on the aeration system put a strain on the active bacteria in the system and reduced treatment efficiency. Because FOG and other contaminants were not effectively removed, FOG began to deposit in the aeration basin, creating a two foot thick grease cap. As a result, the wastewater could not be discharged to the community and was instead diverted to the facility’s retention ponds.
If the problem had been left unaddressed, the facility would have continued to face poor contaminant removal, higher 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 have been providing bioaugmentation solutions for more than five years. Bioaugmentation 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.
Kurita America’s applications team collected samples at the facility and performed an on-site micro-survey. The samples were then sent to the in-house laboratory for further analysis. Kurita America collects these types of samples to determine which bacteria are active in the system. In this case, Kurita America recommended a bioaugmentation program to help remove the FOG in the system.
Based on the analysis and a review of the facility’s needs, the aeration tank had become overloaded and biologically deficient. Essentially, the bacterial population in the aeration tank in its current state was unable to thrive and remove the required contaminants. Kurita America recommended the KURIBIO 8002 and KURIBIO 8018 blended microbial supplements to provide the much-needed micronutrients and specific bacteria to stabilize the system.
KURIBIO 8002 contains a combination of specially selected and patented microorganisms adapted to break down FOG and was developed for food processing wastewater applications containing fats, oils and fats. KURIBIO 8002 improves chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency and maintains plant stability by removing 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 the impurities and decompose these impurities on the spot.
The facility was able to continue normal operations while Kurita America worked to improve the aeration tank capacities by removing the FOG cap with bioaugmentation over 12 weeks. Long-term results focus on avoiding trouble in the future and knowing there is a proven solution.
Much of the success was due to Kurita America’s ability to detect the disorder and conduct micro-surveys to identify the bacteria and recommend a product to combat FOG overload. Patience is key with any bioaugmentation support and in this case the Kurita America team created a dosing schedule for the bacteria and the subsequent micro-assays that indicated the health of the recovering aeration basin.
Micro examinations usually provide indicators of microorganism growth before the clear visual difference that took almost three months to detect. This improved operation will not slow production or stop production to restore the aeration tank. This application is a one-time solution to a disrupted condition, requiring no additional long-term testing or dosing to keep the system outside of what the facility is currently doing.
Kurita America’s innovative technologies solved this long-time 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 based 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 board-certified water technologist and a member of the Association of Water Technologies.
Daryl Mandoza is a product manager for wastewater treatment solutions at Kurita America, specializing in liquid-solid separation. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Augsburg and has been working in the water treatment industry for over 20 years.