The Benefits of Installing a Wastewater Clarifier in Industrial Facilities

Clarification is a key step in cleaning wastewater. Primary clarification helps remove solids like FOG, scum, and sludge. Secondary clarification starts to remove some of the germs, microbes, and small particles. Before your industrial wastewater heads to the sewers, you must add a wastewater clarifier. What are the benefits?

Stay in Compliance With Local, State, and Federal Regulations

Have you looked at your local, state, and federal regulations? You may be legally required to install a wastewater clarifier

The federal government has many restrictions on wastewater treatment in categories like battery manufacturing, the dairy industry, medical offices/hospitals, meat and poultry processing plants, paper/pulp mills, seafood processing plants, and dozens of others. If you’re one of those industries, industrial wastewater treatment is required.

States may have their own regulations. Some regions of Massachusetts set stricter rules than the EPA has for the reuse of biosolids from wastewater treatment. You can’t always follow federal government rules and still be doing everything correctly. You need to check with your local wastewater district to find out what state rules apply to you.

Finally, you might find the city or district you’re in requires it, too. In Carson City, Nevada, industries like commercial laundromats, food producers/restaurants, hotels with dining facilities, mortuaries, and wholesale bakeries have to reduce the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids they send to a wastewater treatment plant. If they don’t meet the local requirements, they can pay huge fines.

Help Protect the Environment

July brought flooding rains to some areas of Vermont, and several wastewater treatment plants were either destroyed or had to reduce operations and release raw sewage directly to the rivers their facilities connect to. 

If you’re clarifying wastewater before it leaves your industrial facility, you help protect the environment. It can be tremendously beneficial to the community and bodies of water in the area if the water reaching the facility is already pretreated. You do a lot to help protect the environment in case of raw sewage releases.

Create Less Hassle Within Your District

People are going to be upset if they find they’re paying higher rates for a system that’s being overwhelmed by industrial wastewater. When you add clarifying equipment and treat the wastewater leaving your facility, you’re less likely to frustrate and even anger people in your wastewater district or the workers at the local treatment plant.

You’re not overwhelming the system and creating a strain on equipment that’s getting older. This is a win-win situation for everyone.

Heighten Worker Safety

Depending on your industrial facility, you could be releasing some hazardous liquids that can impact your wastewater treatment plant’s workers. If you have a meat processing facility, your wastewater likely contains high levels of E. coli, salmonella, or other foodborne illnesses. The workers are at a higher risk. When you clarify your industrial wastewater first, you take the initial step to help keep them safe.

Reduce Your Potential Costs

When you treat wastewater before releasing it to a sewer or body of water, you could be charged steep fines if there are any contaminants in that water. A California company was fined almost $5 million for releasing untreated wastewater into a public wastewater treatment plant without being permitted to do so. They were releasing almost 250,000 gallons taking up almost 40% of the wastewater treatment plant’s capacity.

If you’re not approved to release wastewater to the local facility and aren’t meeting regulations regarding clarification or pre-treatment, you could end up paying millions of dollars, which could bankrupt you.

Improve Your Company or Brand’s Image

Your brand’s image can take a hit if you’re not clarifying your industrial wastewater. Bad press can destroy a business’s reputation. While adding an industrial wastewater system does cost money, it can pay off when it comes to how the public feels about your business.

As an example, breweries often send a lot of wastewater to local wastewater treatment plants every day. Organic materials and grains that are in a brewery’s wastewater are hard to treat. When an abundance of brewery wastewater comes in and needs extra time to treat, it takes up room from others in the municipality. It becomes frustrating to area residents and wastewater treatment plant operators

When a brewery looks for grants and other financing options to add its own clarification equipment, it can do a lot for its reputation. Plus, the grains that are filtered out can become feed for cattle and livestock and the organic matter can be used as fertilizer. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wastewater Clarifier

Before you invest in an industrial wastewater clarifier, make sure you purchase the best wastewater treatment equipment for your needs. Your budget will play a major role in what you eventually purchase, but there are several other things to keep in mind.

The Different Types of Clarifiers

There are different types of clarifiers. With some, the wastewater enters on the side at the top and travels downward with a whirlpool type of flow. Others enter the center. It helps to learn a little more about these popular options to understand what they can do and how they work.


Wastewater comes into the outer perimeter of the clarifier tank at the top and travels along a raceway that’s positioned between the outer wall and skirt. Water spirals down the skirt to the main area where settling occurs. Suspended solids are then caught in a sludge blanket for removal through the central hopper.

A peripheral-feed spiral clarifier like the Spiraflo often performs up to 4x better than a center-feed clarifier.


Like the Spiraflo, the Spiravac has wastewater entering from a pipe at the top of the raceway and spiraling down to the settling area at the bottom. Sludge is then removed through Controlled Removal using separate sludge removal pipes that lead to a sludge well or Direct Removal using a header pipe that uses a rotating manifold to discharge the sludge.

In addition to those two popular wastewater clarifiers, full surface skimming is also recommended. There are full-surface ducking skimmers that cost less and have hinges that allow the skimmer to fit under a scum trough. A motorized full-surface skimmer has a drive that rotates the skimmer arm and a blade that pushes floating scum and FOG to a trough for removal.

Your Facility’s Available Space

How much space is available? If you don’t have a lot of space, you need to find a clarifier that takes up as little space as possible. A Spiraflo ranges in size from 8 feet in diameter to 130 feet, so it’s a good option if you need to stick within a certain amount of space.

The Maintenance Requirements

Finally, look for a clarifier that requires little maintenance. If you choose a system that has a lot of steps to keep it maintained, hire additional staff to ensure you have a team available for routine maintenance. 

Work With a Water Treatment Professional 

An industrial wastewater clarifier is a valuable asset for any facility, and it’s one you shouldn’t rush into purchasing without research and expert knowledge. You need a system that helps you save money, stay in compliance, keep people in your municipality happy, and reduce the strain on your area’s wastewater treatment plant. 

Ensure you get exactly what your plant needs by working with a water treatment expert. The team at Lakeside Equipment is highly knowledgeable in all aspects of water treatment, including clarifiers. Talk to our team to discuss your facility’s goals, the space you have, and your budget. We’ll help you find the best clarifier for industrial wastewater.