Establishing Wastewater Treatment for Your Plant When Space is Limited

One of the most popular questions we hear is how to establish a wastewater treatment plant to be as small in size as possible. Say you own a poultry processing plant and need a wastewater treatment plant, but you don’t have a lot of room. What are you supposed to do?

Your first step is to consult with an expert in wastewater treatment design. You need engineers, field technicians, and customer support personnel to work with you each step of the way. Be clear regarding your budget, be open to advancements like solar power that may cost more upfront but save more money in the long run, and listen carefully to their input on equipment that takes up less space.

There’s a second step you must follow before establishing your company’s wastewater treatment plant. You need to know the local laws and regulations. This is a second reason to enlist the help of a wastewater treatment plant expert. The last thing you want to do is start building your plant without having the proper permits in place. It would be best if you made sure the system you’ve built meets peak flow rates. A sewer overflow can be costly. You also have to meet the effluent guidelines before releasing the water back to lakes, streams, rivers, or ponds. If you don’t, you face hefty fines. It doesn’t matter how much space you have. You can’t ignore local and federal regulations for wastewater disposal.

How much can those fines be? It depends on the situation. It’s always better for your bottom line and the environment if you address concerns before problems arise.

A New York poultry processing plant was fined $330,000 for discharging wastewater that contained chicken fat and tissue. The plant used up to 450,000 gallons of water a day in its operations, leading to excessive flow rates at the local wastewater treatment plant. That wastewater treatment plant had to release untreated wastewater into the area’s tributaries, violating its discharge permit.

A Maryland paper mill owner was fined $650,000 for toxic waste or “black liquid” that ended up in the Potomac River. Though the plant closed years earlier, the waste has been leaking from the plant. The plant’s owner also has to find where the leaking materials are coming from, take care of them, and clean up the contamination.

So, you’re looking to add a wastewater treatment plant in a small area. What do you need? Here’s a guide to the equipment.

Equipment Needed in a Wastewater Treatment System

What equipment makes up a wastewater treatment system? It depends on what you’re using it for. Some equipment won’t be necessary if you’re just pre-treating water before it goes to the sewer. If you’re removing items, you’ll have additional equipment to consider.

No matter what your company does, you’ll start with a basin where the wastewater collects. Suppose you own a poultry processing plant. The water used to clean areas of bone scraps, blood, tissue, and features goes through drains to a holding tank. That basin may be underground. Grinder pumps or screw pumps will help move the wastewater to the first stage of the treatment process, screening.

Before getting to screening, it helps to understand the benefits of a screw pump. They can’t clog. Not only are they easy to maintain, but they’re also an efficient way to pump wastewater. You’ll have lower electricity bills. Screw pumps are also adaptable when it comes to their angle. If you have a small area to fill with your water treatment plant, shifting a screw pump to sit at an incline of 45 degrees will save a lot of space over a 30-degree angle.

Screening removes larger pieces like a tampon applicator from the wastewater before it causes a clog or jams up a mixer, propeller, or recirculation pump. Screening is another area where you can save some space. A Raptor Rotary Strainer is going to require less room than a Rotating Drum Screen in most designs.

A grit removal system may be needed if there are gritty components like coffee grounds or sand in the wastewater your plant produces. Wastewater is then stirred up so that solids and fats are separated from the liquids. They can be removed to an incinerator or compost pile to break down.

Bacteria feed on tiny particles of waste during advanced tertiary treatments. Eventually, the use of chemicals, such as chlorine, are used to sanitize the remaining wastewater. At that point, all that’s left is to allow the chlorine to dissipate. It’s now safe to release it to bodies of water.

The equipment you need depends a lot on what your goals are and where the wastewater goes next. If you’re treating water to remove some contaminants before it goes to the sewer lines, your needs might be different from a paper mill that’s cleaning the water of chemicals and pulp before releasing it to the river.

As you’re planning your wastewater treatment design, consider using technology to keep costs down. For example, we mentioned solar. Take advantage of grants and incentives that can help you install solar panels that will lower your energy bills. Wind power is another option. It would help if you also looked at turning any methane produced during the wastewater treatment process and using that to heat your plant.

Your Guide to Space Saving Water Treatment Equipment

You could have a lot of equipment and crowd it into an area or use a pre-manufactured system that makes the most of a small space.

Have you considered a complete plant? If space is limited and you want to keep operating costs down, a pre-manufactured water treatment system is a smart idea. Often, you have a little room to customize the pre-manufactured complete plant to match your exact needs. Benefits to packaged plants include:

  • Simple operation that requires minimal staffing
  • Easy to install and maintain, so your installation and maintenance costs are much lower
  • Designed to fit in small areas
  • Able to handle changing flow rates

A Raptor Complete Plant is a good choice when you have a small space and need to pretreat your plant’s wastewater. This system has a stainless steel tank that contains a Raptor Fine Screen, a Rotating Drum Screen, or a Micro Strainer. Once the wastewater is screened, it moves to the grit removal chamber. You can add aeration systems and grease traps, too.

Smaller spaces benefit from the Headworks Packaged System (H-PAC). Again, it’s a compact stainless steel tank that contains a Raptor Screen and a SpiraGrit Vortex Grit Chamber for grit removal.

Pair those with a Package Extended Aeration Plant that is a stainless steel tank that aerates, clarifies, and disinfects wastewater in one unit. As the wastewater is cleaned, sludge is contained in a holding area for easy removal.

You shouldn’t forgo efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to your design. You can have an effective, efficient wastewater treatment plant without having to cut corners. You just need to talk to an expert in wastewater treatment equipment.

Lakeside Equipment has been helping customers with wastewater treatment goals for decades. In fact, our company’s first water purification systems date back to 1928. Our employees own the company and strive to ensure you have a high-quality solution that matches your goals and budget while also helping the environment. Call us at 630-837-5640 or fill out the online form to get started.