Making Food Production Liquid Waste Recycling Happen

Client:   Chicagoland Frozen Food Manufacturer

Issue:   Dissolved Air Filtration Sludge Disposal

Solution:   Completely Sustainable & Dependable Recycling Plan

A Chicago-area frozen food manufacturer is the Hero in this Success Story. It processes its cleaning wash water through its on-site wastewater treatment system. Their system uses a dissolved air filtration unit [DAF]. The DAF removes fats, oil, and grease [FOG] from the wash water. The treated water from the system goes into the sewer to be treated at the municipal wastewater treatment plant. Just like the water you use at home. The fats, oils, and grease removed by the DAF unit are concentrated into a thick, liquid sludge. 25k to 35k gallons of sludge every week. The non-hazardous sludge needs to be transported off-site for disposal.

The problem was that the Food Industry client was looking for a more sustainable, and less expensive, way to manage its DAF sludge. They were referred to ERC Midwest because of our proven dependency for vacuum tanker transportation, wastewater treatment, sludge collection and disposal and industrial cleaning solutions. Because of the credibility that came with the referral, the food industry client wanted our assistance.

Can you help us?” was the question.  “Of course,” was our answer.

We collaborated with the client to make sure we understood both their challenges and their goals. Once those were mutually established, we jumped into action to guide them to the solution they desired.   

The first step was to analyze the sludge for heavy metals, pH, Biochemical Oxygen Demand [BOD], and other parameters at a laboratory. The lab analysis showed that the sludge was a good candidate for recycling using a process called anaerobic digestion. In the digester process, the sludge is fed to microorganisms that live in the absence of oxygen. The “bugs” eat the sludge, converting it into water and methane gas. The water is recycled, and the gas is used to produce clean, green, and sustainable electricity.

Step two involved a trial. Using vacuum trucks, several loads of the sludge waste were transported to the digester facility. The bugs loved the sludge, and the trial was a big success. That led to Step three. We presented the client with a proposal to recycle their DAF sludge at a cost that was less than the way it had been disposed of for years. The client was thrilled that we were able to guide them to the exact solution they wanted.

ERC Midwest can help guide you to solve your complex waste problems.

We were proud to be the guide that helped this client achieve its goals.

Another complex waste problem solved. Happy Client!

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