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Nordfjord 'surpasses legislative demands' with wastewater treatment

23 October 2012

Norwegian food processor, Nordfjord, is said to be exceeding legislative demands by taking new steps to implementing environmentally responsible wastewater treatment processes.

As with many meat processors, Nordfjord's wastewater is a complex mixture of blood, excrement; cleaning and flushing water from equipment; curing and smoking and water from the hygiene systems and daily cleaning of the production line.

The effluent from the factory contains dissolved organic components such as protein and fat, wholly or partly dissolved in hot water, often with chemical cleaners.

This is made more complex because the quantities can vary so considerably. On an hourly basis, daily volumes average between 600 to 700 cubic metres. The organic load in the effluent is equivalent to the sewage from 30,000-35,000 people.

The prerequisite is to conduct primary treatment before sending this type of water to the municipal treatment plant but Nordfjord has implemented more extensive treatment. This process is based, it is said, on logical steps: While the waste is still at room temperature, it enters a sump pump from which an even flow is sent to a Salsnes filter.

This is an endless 110-cubic wire-cloth filter that removes particles, fur, meat gragments, sawdust and fat lumps that form while cooling. The clean solids from the filter are dewatered and sent to a container, which goes directly to municipal treatment.

Leftover effluent flows to a large basin where the water cools and rests. Here, the fat rises to the surface and is scraped off. The sediments are also scraped out: from the bottom and join the sludge that emerges from final filtering post bioreactors.

After the sediment basin, the wastewater enters a buffering basin of 65 cu meters. From here, an even flow is pumped to the two-step bioreactors. There are two identical and parallel lines with a total volume of 55 cu meters. The biocarriers were developed by Biowater and are unique in shape. With a specific sheltered surface of 650 sq meters per cubic meter, they are densely populated by bacteria that consume organic material.

''The biocarriers are continuously suspended in the basin by a set of air diffusers, giving a vigorous and oxygen-rich environment, all supplied by a solid compressor,'' said Ottar Vinsrygg, technical manager for Nordfjord.

The addition of oxygen ensures a 100% aerobic environment to bring the organic load to complete decomposition. Oxygen sensors in the bioreactors monitor the condition and adjust the amount of air being fed into the bioreactors accordingly. Surplus oxygen is crucial for bioreaction.

As the effluent leaves the bioreactors, all the dissolved organic matter has been consumed and transformed into CO2.


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