Winery Pond Odor Control: A Case Study

winery lagoon

A winery pond or lagoon can be an ideal treatment option for process wastewater because it is relatively low-maintenance, sustainable, easy to operate, and cost-effective. A pond with sufficient capacity can easily cope with the peak loads and changes in influent volume and temperature common with winery wastewater.

Like municipal lagoons, however, a winery lagoon can emit unpleasant odors if dissolved oxygen levels are inadequate. In this article, we’ll review the characteristics of winery wastewater and why lagoon treatment can be a good option, then present a case study of a winery lagoon that added Triplepoint’s AeroHub fine bubble aeration to solve an odor issue.

Characteristics of Winery Wastewater: High BOD, Shock Loads

The manufacture of wine is a water-intensive process, with two to six gallons of water used in the creation of every gallon of finished product. Approximately 70 percent of the water utilized during the winemaking process becomes a wastewater byproduct. Winery wastewater is typically very high in BOD. Moreover, winery operations can suffer “slugs” of BOD coming from bad batches or accidental spills from time to time. Winemakers would undoubtedly prefer not to focus on wastewater, but it is a critical part of doing business. Insufficient wastewater treatment can cause permit violations and interruptions in production—both potentially costly outcomes.

Wastewater generated by a winery can be pure liquid Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) from bottling side spillage, or can include solids like seeds, stalks, yeast, and sedimentation waste, which is expressed as Total Suspended Solids, or TSS. Washwater from the cleaning of floors, equipment, pipes, and vessels may contain cleaning chemicals that can disrupt the biological breakdown in a wastewater treatment process. Overall, wastewater from the production of wine is generally highly soluble biodegradable organic compounds.

Wastewater from the production of wine generally has a BOD from 300–3500 mg/L, but BOD can go as high as 12,000 mg/L during crush season, with a TSS from 10–800 mg/L.

In addition, production schedules vary—over the course of the day or seasonally with the vintage cycle—making it important for a winery’s wastewater system to be capable of adapting to inconsistent flows, including surges in volume and variations in influent strength and temperature.

Clearly, with these significant BOD and TSS levels and variable loading, effective and economical wastewater treatment can be challenging.

The Winery Pond

Wines & Vines Analytics, citing a study by UC Davis, says, “As water is expected to become even more costly and scarce in coming years, winery wastewater ponds may soon turn from an unsightly necessity to a helpful source of usable water.”

A winery pond provides the flexibility to cope with changes in flows and loadings, is economical to build and operate, and can treat BOD and TSS to a level sufficient to meet California’s Title 22 standards for beneficial reuse.

However, to ensure optimal treatment and odor control, aeration is key.

Winery Pond Case Study

Ste. Chapelle Winery in Caldwell, Idaho, installed an evaporative lagoon in March of 2017. Within the first six months of operation, the 300’ x 200’, 1.2 MG lagoon developed an odor problem, which was generating complaints from retail customers. An outdoor amphitheater for summer concerts was under construction, so unpleasant odors needed to be dealt with.

A high BOD load of 2100 mg/L was consuming all the oxygen in the water. Undigested process solids including grape pulp and skins became septic and released pungent odors. The lagoon had less than one foot of water depth and solids were building up around the inlet.

Triplepoint assessed the pond with the engineers and site management and determined that nearly five feet of available freeboard would support a higher water level in the lagoon. Triplepoint advised the winery that raising the water level to a minimum of 2.5 feet would allow an AeroHub fine bubble aeration system to be installed to maintain dissolved oxygen levels, digest volatile solids, and mitigate odors.

Twelve fine bubble AeroHub units, supplied by a single on-shore 10 hp three-phase Positive Displacement blower, were installed onto the lagoon floor by workers in hip waders. Irrigation water was used to fill the lagoon to the recommended minimum depth of 2.5 feet.

winery lagoon

The AeroHubs nestled into the process solids; significant surface foam demonstrated that the AeroHubs had begun immediately oxidizing the solids. After a couple of weeks of acclimation, the foam dissipated and the odors are under control.

Winery Pond Aeration

According to The Wine Institute’s Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy: “A well designed aeration system for aerobic pond treatment of winery wastewater will prevent formation of nuisance sulfurous odors that would otherwise occur in a relatively short period of time, on the order of a few hours to a day.” Ensure your wastewater is well aerated—and odor-free—by adding one of Triplepoint’s lagoon aeration solutions.

Triplepoint’s MARS® aerator offers fine bubble aeration and coarse bubble mixing in a single, portable unit. Triplepoint’s AeroHub™ is a portable fine bubble aeration unit without mixing, ideal for shallower applications (like the Ste. Chapelle Winery lagoon) or when mixing is not desirable.

Whatever your application, we can help you design a pond aeration system to maximize treatment, mitigate odors, and improve energy efficiency. Send us your specs—we’d be happy to send you a no-obligation quote.

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