Microbreweries achieve wastewater compliance


Aerofloat’s Michael Anderson tells Food & Beverage Industry News how Australian microbreweries are implementing low maintenance wastewater solutions to secure council compliance.

Microbreweries often require a wastewater treatment system that provides solids removal and pH correction. Aerofloat is well known in the industry for providing low maintenance solutions that use minimal footprint.

Aerofloat is a family-run company of wastewater specialists based in NSW, which designs, manufactures, installs and commissions wastewater treatment systems for the Australian food and beverage market. Michael Anderson, general manager of Engineering and Operations, is passionate about developing innovative products and designs in response to some of the most difficult problems in the wastewater industry.

“We start a dialogue to determine what it is they specifically need for that area, because every council and water utility has a different set of requirements, depending on what state you’re in,” Anderson said. “So, we do our due diligence on where they are, who they are, the timing of their project, and then we have some pretty standard recommendations.”

Some of the things Aerofloat considers when taking on a project surround the space available and the system itself – is it old or new? Is it an existing large tank in the ground, or is there enough space above ground to install a new one?

“The two problems you’re trying to solve are separating the larger solids out and then PH correcting, all while measuring the flow to the sewer,” Anderson said.

Aerofloat provides low maintenance wastewater solutions for the food and beverage industry.

Flexible compliance

Stockade Brewing in Marrickville, in Sydney, had an existing grease trap that could remove the solids found in the wastewater from washing up beer brewing equipment.

“We converted the existing grease trap that was collecting all the wastewater into a small pump station,” Anderson said. “We put it through our AeroClear clarifier, to separate out the solids and the clarified supernatant overflows out of the clarifier to  a pH correction tank. The pH corrected wastewater then overflows to the sewer where a flow meter is installed to capture the flow.”

Mountain Goat was another prime example.

“Mountain Goat didn’t have much space, so first we separated the solids underground in some larger pre-cast tanks,” Anderson said. “Then we had a small chamber like a pump pit  and did the pH correction in-line on the way to the sewer. So, it was an inline pH correction system instead of using a tank. In that instance, we used below-ground tanks to save on space, situated below some car spaces.”

Other breweries Aerofloat worked with include Merino Brewing, Shark Island Brewing, Urban Alley, Thunder Road and Atomic Brewing.

“For Atomic Brewing in Redfern, we did the solids dropout in a pit underground,” Anderson said. “Then we pumped up above ground and had a pH correction tank in the mixer in the brewing space. Very simple.”

Through simple, reliable, automated systems, these microbreweries achieved the compliance needed. By removing the need to manually adjust and optimise the system, Aerofloat ensures a streamlined process for its customers. It even has service contracts that supply chemicals and maintenance to customers, so that they don’t need to interact with the system at all – just set and forget!

Key takeaways

Speaking at AUSPACK 2022 in May, Anderson presented the top tips for managing trade wastewater compliance and the simple actions food and beverage companies can take to reduce bills and make compliance easier.

“The key messages that I spoke about were around defining the wastewater problem in the early stage, really focusing heavily on doing a lot of due diligence on the different wastewater streams and the amounts that you have, then what the future looks like for that site,” he said.

According to Anderson, people underestimate wastewater consumption, especially when it comes to greenfield. This was the case with 4 Pines Brewery, which needed to expand its operations for larger distribution while still committing to social and environmental responsibility. Aerofloat installed AeroDAF to treat 4 Pines’ wastewater and allow for future growth in the craft beer market.

“People also underestimate the potential of their business on that site. Suddenly, they’re seeing four times the original design flow and now the wastewater treatment plant needs an upgrade or it’s at capacity,” he said.

“This doesn’t really happen with us because we focus so heavily on it. But in our experience, we’ve had to fix up other people’s plants that are too small.”

The Aerofloat session also explored the ways to define the potential load of a company’s wastewater.

“It’s not just how much water is used but it’s also about the concentration of the solids and debris or contaminant in the water,” Anderson said. “Making sure that when you get wastewater samples, even if it’s an existing site and you want to upgrade your wastewater infrastructure apparatus for compliance, do a flow-based composite sample first.”

This ensures a true representation of the customer’s needs, so that the right equipment can be selected for the problem.

For more information about how Aerofloat can assist your business – whether it be a microbrewery or a food processing site – visit www.aerofloat.com.au.

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