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High-Grade Technology Investment | Ommegang Brewery



The Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, N.Y., 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.


Rick Debar, Technical Manager and Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager for the brewery, worked with Steve Buttles, Project Superintendent at Western Water/GW&E of Austin, Texas, to plan the project. The aeration tank holds 150,000 gallons and the design was created with the goal of introducing a sufficient amount of oxygen to meet biological treatment needs of the processed wastewater when the brewery is operated at full capacity.


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 Product 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 disc 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.


Given the needs of the aeration design, EDI promoted its StreamLine diffuser. The geometry of the Streamline diffuser allows for higher installable diffuser densities—equal to 50% floor coverage—andoperating 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, 4 days were spent installing the EDI StreamLine Diffuser aeration system. Total project budget for the plant was $1.2 million, with only $30,000 of that allocated to the aeration elements and installation.


“No other diffusers were considered for this project, given the success we have had
with EDI’s products in other plants,” says Buttles. “Our company has had very good results using EDI on other projects, and their fine-bubble diffusers work well with our MBR systems. Plus, they were within our budget