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Vineyard and Restaurant – Grease Trap and AWTS Restoration

A large vineyard with a busy restaurant was having issues with their on-site wastewater treatment system.

As a large part of their business requires the management of food processing waste, their facilities include a large grease trap and an Aerated Wastewater Treatment System (AWTS). These systems were put in place many years ago and as the business grew, production waste increased and time passed the vineyard’s wastewater treatment system’s performance began to suffer.

There were strong smells coming from the grease trap as well as from the AWTS and the discharge areas. Management had noticed that there was often untreated effluent being discharged from the AWTS, which posed serious health and safety issues.

With the smells, the increased need for system pump outs, more frequent call outs due to blockages and the potential health hazard, management decided to investigate whether they needed to invest in an upgrade to the system or if there was a more cost-effective solution.

The Diagnosis

Ecowater Services were called to inspect the system and found that the grease trap wasn’t capturing fat, oil and grease waste effectively and the waste was flowing through the rest of the system and causing blockages. This meant frequent emergency call outs and more pump outs than should have been necessary.

Fat, oil and grease were bypassing the grease trap because it wasn’t built to handle the amount of waste that resulted from increased venue numbers. The grease trap was filling up too quickly, grease didn’t have enough time to settle and it was bypassing the grease trap and causing blockages and failures through the rest of the wastewater system.

Ecowater Services recommended that instead of expanding or modifying the system itself, the vineyard should first look to improve the biological efficiency of their existing system using the wastewater additives EcoCare Activator and EcoCare GT Plus.

The biological efficiency of any wastewater system is dependent on the effectiveness of the bacteria in the system in breaking down and digesting the waste passing through it. Without sufficiently high levels of the right bacterial species operating in the appropriate biological conditions the system will be unable to adequately process the waste load and will eventually fail.

By adding specialty bacteria to assist with the removal of fat, oil and grease and restoring the optimal biological conditions within the AWTS, improvements in overall system efficiency and therefore waste handling capacity can be achieved.

The Wastewater Treatment Plan

A six week remediation and restoration programme was put in place to see if the performance of the grease trap and AWTS could be improved without any additions, extensions or new installations. Instead the system was regularly dosed with a total of 9 litres of EcoCare Activator and 7 litres of EcoCare GT Plus over the six week initial treatment period.

EcoCare GT Plus – grease digestion

To improve the performance of the grease trap, EcoCare GT Plus was used to turn the grease trap from a waste capture and holding tank into a waste treatment unit. The specialised bacteria within EcoCare GT Plus actively digest fat, oil and grease waste so that less waste accumulates, pump outs are needed less frequently and bad smells are eliminated.

The Automated Dosing System for EcoCare GT Plus was fed directly into the largest drain in the kitchen. The dosing system was configured to deliver 150ml of EcoCare GT Plus each night, the time at which the system was being used the least.

EcoCare Activator – biological restoration

To improve the performance of the AWTS, EcoCare Activator was used to restore the optimal biological conditions in the system, allowing the beneficial bacteria to thrive and effective waste treatment to take place.

The AWTS was first primed with 4 litres of EcoCare Activator and was then dosed with an additional 250ml, three times a week. The EcoCare Activator dose could have been automated with a dosing system, however management decided to pour the dose into various drains leading to the wastewater system to restore the system as a whole.

The Results

At the end of the six week remediation and restoration programme, Ecowater Services tested the system with the following results.

  • Oxygen levels increased by 220%
  • Total Suspended Solids reduced by 30%
  • Turbidity was reduced by 80%

The smells from the grease trap had been completely eliminated and the effluent from the AWTS was well within health and safety standards. Visual inspections of the grease trap and AWTS showed that sludge levels had reduced to acceptable standards.

Over the next few months the benefits of a well treated wastewater system were realised.

  • Fewer call outs due to system blockages and breakdowns
  • Less wear and tear on pumps and pipes due to blockages
  • Reduced pump out frequency as waste was being digested efficiently