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Industrial Aeration Solutions

Case Study: Ommegang Brewery – Cooperstown, NY


The Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, NY, unable to send its wastewater to the public treatment facility, built its own private 20,000 GPD industrial membrane bioreactor package plant. Planners wanted to make sure every element of the treatment process was designed to take advantage of the latest in technological advancements to deliver optimal treatment in the least time, with the smallest footprint and highest level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.


When approached with the design requirements for the treatment basin, EDI evaluated facility characteristics and product options they could design around. “Given the relatively high organic loading of the brewing process flows,” recalls EDI Project Manager Darin Starr, “the use of a (standard) 9-inch diameter disc product was perceived to provide low value to the customer.” That configuration would have yielded only adequate SOTE performance and would require operating the aeration system in the upper range of its capacity. This would have required installing the maximum possible number of diffusers in the basin, equivalent to floor coverage of 35 percent. Since product geometry limited the ability to increase the number of installable disc diffuser units, this design would not offer the brewery plant an optimal operating system in terms of aeration efficiency or turn-up capacity, should future plant loading need to increase.

EDI’s Solution

Given the needs of the aeration design, EDI promoted its StreamLine diffuser. Its geometry allows for higher installable diffuser densities—equal to 50% floor coverage—and operating efficiencies greater than that of the 9-inch disc diffuser. The StreamLine diffuser allowed the aeration system to meet the plant’s initial performance objectives while providing flexibility to increase process capacity of the treatment system, should the brewery expand production in the future.


The operating performance of the StreamLine diffuser system is greater than what could have been achieved by a disc diffuser. With more than 70 percent greater diffuser active membrane area, the brewery now has the capacity to significantly increase production with minimal changes to the operation of the wastewater treatment plant.

“EDI’s service, pricing and product are very good,” says Buttles. “Their systems seem to run very well when installed properly. We are very happy with the results.”

The entire build lasted nine months. Of that, four days were spent installing the EDI StreamLine Diffuser aeration system. Total project budget for the plant was $1.2 million, with about $30,000 of that allocated to the aeration elements and installation.

Case Study: F&A Dairy – Dresser, WI

Project History

F&A Dairies, founded in 1958, began manufacturing cheese at their Dresser, WI, facility in 1974. Five years after the plant’s opening, F&A Dairy constructed an aerated lagoon Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) with land irrigation, employing a static tube coarse bubble aeration. The system was originally designed to process approximately 3000 ppd BOD. The system operated with satisfactory levels of dissolved oxygen for many years.

Problem Faced

By April 2009, F&A Dairy had outgrown its WWTP. With significant increases in production, the static tube aeration system was unable to deliver sufficient oxygen to the lagoon treatment system. The plant was now processing close to one million pounds of milk per day. The 35-year-old system was not originally designed to handle such a large load and could not keep up with the plant’s needs. 

The original static tube aeration system was at capacity with all four 50 Hp blowers (3000 cfm each). Even at capacity, the system was only able to maintain a dissolved oxygen level of 0.1mg/l, which resulted in operational troubles and odors.

For a short-term fix while F&A Dairy searched for a solution, the plant purchased an Ultra V 30 Hp aspirating pump and rented two more powered by a portable diesel generator. This added a 90 Hp load onto the electricity consumption in addition to the four 50Hp blowers by a portable diesel generator to handle peak summer conditions.

EDI’s Solution & Outcome

For a permanent solution, F&A Dairy hired Symbiont, a prominent consulting firm located in Milwaukee, WI, to develop a long-term solution. Symbiont specializes in the design of industrial and municipal wastewater treatment facilities. Symbiont studied the plant wastewater and its existing treatment processes in addition to viable aeration system technology. They also evaluated F&A Dairy’s other plant in Las Cruces, NM, which already employed EDI’s Floating lateral system.

 After the evaluation was complete, Symbiont recommended employing a fine bubble aeration system that could be installed without dewatering the existing treatment lagoons, and would provide an energy efficient system to meet the demands of the one million lbs/day production.

F&A purchased a fine bubble aeration system from EDI. The system employed floating HDPE air lateral assemblies with suspended tubular fine bubble flexible membrane diffuser assemblies. The system was installed in the summer of 2010 with great success. The new system has reduced power consumption, has been able to handle peak loads, maintain dissolved oxygen and provide operating flexibility.

Case Study: Brakebush Brothers, Inc. – Westfield, WI

Project History

Brakebush waste flows are pumped to a 250,000-gallon filtration tank that provides pretreatment of the waste flows, which consists of screening solids and skimming fats and oil from the surface. After pH control is performed, three dissolved air flotation clarifiers provide primary treatment of the 400,000 gallons-per-day flow. Secondary treatment is provided by a single 3.1 million gallon lagoon.

Problem Faced

Bucky Walters, lead wastewater operator, was having difficulty maintaining dissolved oxygen levels in the lagoon during cold weather with his existing surface aerators. During often-brutal Wisconsin winters, the lagoon experienced freeze-outs. The old aerators would flip over from ice displacement, causing a decrease in the delivery of oxygen to the basin and thus treatment. Even when functioning, the aeration process wasn’t powerful enough to meet the plant’s treatment needs.

Another development would soon overwhelm the lagoon’s aeration capacity altogether: Brakebush was about to significantly increase production. The current system utilized splash aerators, the performance of which was simply inadequate to meet the oxygen demands of the treatment process. In addition to the oxygen delivery shortcomings, the combined 475 Hp in aerators were eating electricity like it was going out of style. Utilities manager David Meyer dreaded the bills they would generate trying to keep up with the higher volume waste streams from production increases.
There was no more putting it off: it was time to upgrade the aeration system.

EDI’s Solution & Outcome

After two months researching viable aeration replacements, Meyer consulted with Neenah-based architectural engineering firm The McMahon Group on technical specifications. Once they’d identified their needs, he contacted Energenecs Inc., an industrial water pollution control equipment wholesaler in Cedarburg, to identify potential vendors. Energenecs specified Environmental Dynamics International (EDI), which designs and manufactures water aeration systems at their Columbia, MO, headquarters. EDI offered a fine bubble, high-efficiency diffused aeration system that could be configured to the Brakebush plant’s specific requirements.

 The team settled on EDI’s floating lateral system with FlexAir® 88S diffuser assemblies, outfitted with Magnum™ Diffusers. The upgrade installation took less than a week, performed by Lee’s Contracting out of Little Chute, WI. To prevent any disruption in treatment during the upgrade, the plant stayed online by leaving the old aerators in place while new laterals were installed. Old aerators were removed as each new aeration floating lateral came online.

 Meyer and Walters were impressed by the FlexAir system’s ability to perform superior oxygen transfer through the production of ultra-high-density micro-bubbles, while running on less than half the power required by the plant’s old system. Total operating power requirements were dropped to 200 Hp with this efficient new system.

 A year after the original upgrade, some settling was noticed around the lagoon’s edges, evidenced by a lot of clear water over solids in the shallows. Meyer and Walters realized they had undersized the equipment scope and needed to extend the laterals into the shallower edge areas with what they call a “corner system.” EDI responded with a turnkey design for the additional equipment requirements with the new system installed by its Aeration Works division.

 Total cost for the aeration upgrade project was a small fraction compared to the additional profits generated by the manufacturing plant’s increased production. Much of the capital cost was paid through significant electricity savings enabled by the system’s performance. It’s a shining example of whole plant increases in efficiency and cost-effectiveness through targeted key systems upgrades.

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