Effluent water quality and treatment options for a food processing facility
LE3 .A278 2016
Bachelor of Science
Environmental & Sustainability Studies
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effluent quality at a food processing plant in rural Nova Scotia, which primarily processed frozen carrot and blueberry products between August and November each year. Wastewater from production was directly discharged into an adjacent saltwater basin and had historically met the operating guidelines established by Nova Scotia Environment. However, during the 2014 processing season, Environment Canada conducted an acute lethality test to assess the quality of the final effluent discharged directly from the pipe outlet. The test failed, which led to an Inspector’s Direction to treat the effluent in order to pass an additional test one year later. A data review and comprehensive sampling program was established to determine the cause of the acute lethality of the water, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the current wastewater treatment process. Results indicated that the high biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) was responsible for depleting dissolved oxygen and suffocating the fish during the acute lethality test. Certain processes in the plant were identified as being high contributors to organic loads in the effluent. Additionally, the results of the sampling program indicated that the current wastewater treatment at the plant was insufficient. This initiated bench-scale wastewater treatment experimentation using activated sludge and coagulation/flocculation methods to improve the quality of the final effluent. The most effective treatment option for the plant proved to be activated sludge because it resulted in the greatest BOD5 reduction.
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