How to Identify Options for Treatment
There are a wide range of options available for on-site wastewater treatment. Wineries need to work with a consultant to determine the type of system that will best meet their needs.
This table summarizes some of the systems most commonly used by wineries in Ontario that have been approved by the Province or Municipalities.
|Wetland Biofilter||Lagoon||Bioreactor (various)|
|Description||A constructed wetland that uses plant growth to break down organic material in wastewater||An open pond where biological processes break down organic material.||Enclosed systems that use microbial action to break down organic matter. Includes biofilters, anaerobic digesters, and other biological systems.|
|Wineries with provinically-approved systems||Peninsula Ridge
|Chateau des Charmes||Konzelmann Estates
Types of Wastewater Treatment Systems
- Lagoon: open ponds designed to treat organic matter in wastewater.
- Bioreactor: A vessel that contains bacteria or other organisms that break down organic material.
- Activated Sludge: Suspended material that consists of wastewater and organisms that break down organic matter.
- Membrane Bioreactor (MBR): A system that combines a bioreactor with a membrane to enhance performance and reduce footprint.
- Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR): One or more bioreactors that operate on a batch system and utilize aeration and activated sludge.
- Constructed Wetland/Wetland Biofilter: An artificial wetland that uses plants to break down organic matter in wastewater.
When selecting a treatment system, there are a number of key criteria that wineries should consider.
Flexibility to Handle Variable Wastewater Streams
The strength and volume of winery wastewater varies significantly over the year. Treatment systems must be able to handle this variability as well as variation in pH that may change significantly depending on a winery’s cleaning cycle.
In addition to the up-front capital cost, wineries need to factor in the long-term operating costs associated with the treatment system.
These include ongoing costs related to energy and water consumption, labour, maintenance, monitoring and reporting, as well as any rehabilitation costs (such as lagoon dredging or filter medium replacement).
Some wastewater treatment systems have large space requirements which may pose challenges for wineries that have internal space or land constraints.
Ability to Grow
Wastewater treatment systems should be able to accommodate the planned growth of wineries. The ease of expanding the treatment system capacity, as well as future space and operational requirements, should be taken into account.
Certain treatment systems may be more cost-effective for different sizes of wineries.
Ability to Meet Discharge Requirements
The wastewater treatment system must be able to meet discharge requirements under actual winery operating conditions. For instance, the majority of high-strength wastewater from wineries is generated during colder months (October-January) so it is important that treatment systems can perform under these conditions.
Wineries should be aware of any operating practices within the winery that may affect the system’s ability to meet discharge requirements.
The cost of monitoring can range from less than $2,000/year for municipally-approved systems to $5,000 to $15,000 for provincially-approved systems, depending on compliance and reporting requirements.
There may be opportunities for wineries to consider new wastewater treatment systems that have not previously been approved at Ontario wineries.
To reduce the risks associated with installing an unproven system, wineries should work with the technology provider to first conduct a pilot project to assess the performance of the treatment system under actual operating conditions. Wineries should consult with their local planning department and their Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) district office to determine if any approvals are required for the pilot project.
Case Study: On-site Wastewater Treatment at Cave Spring Cellars
Cave Spring Cellars produces 60,000 cases of wine per year and is connected to a municipal sanitary sewer. They had an on-site treatment system to reduce the strength of their wastewater, prior to discharging to the sewer. However, the winery had grown considerably since its installation and the treatment system was significantly under-sized, resulting in poor performance and odour issues within the winery.
Cave Spring approached a number of vendors, but found the process of selecting a consultant challenging and were uncertain how to evaluate options. As a result, Cave Spring decided to partner with BLOOM to demonstrate a promising innovative technology, called BioGill, that was designed to handle high BOD wastewater with a small footprint.
The demonstration was successful, eliminating both Cave Spring’s sewer surcharges and the odour issue. As a result of this success, Cave Spring decided to permanently install a commercial-scale BioGill system at a capital cost of approximately $160,000. Since wastewater is discharged to a municipal sewer, the installation of the actual on-site treatment system did not require municipal or Provincial approval.