Chapter 25

Winery Wastewater Treatment

(book excerpts)

Wine production generates waste and a high volume of wastewater. Winery wastewater is characterized by high organic loadings, mostly consisting of highly soluble sugars, alcohols, acids, and recalcitrant compounds (e.g., polyphenols), tannins, and lignin. Ethanol and sugars represent a large proportion of the organic load. During the grape-processing period (vintage), large volumes of wastewater are generated when cleaning and sanitizing the equipment (hoppers, destemmers, presses, pumps, tubing, etc.) that come into contact with the raw materials and in the following months, when cleaning and sanitizing tanks, barrels, filters, and the bottling line. It has been estimated that the amount of wastewater generated is approximately 6 times higher than that of processed wine in units of volume. Typically, large wineries will consume less water and energy per gallon of wine produced, as compared to smaller wineries. The characteristics and amount of the wastewater depend largely on the winery size, applied technology, effectiveness and complexity of clean-in-place (CIP) methods, good manufacture practices (GMP), etc. Treatments of winery wastewaters include the application of physical, chemical, and biological methods. Physical treatment is necessary to reduce suspended solids. Chemical treatment of wastewater involves pH adjustment as well as other treatments. Biological treatment uses bacteria to remove organic contaminants from wastewater. There are two types of biological treatment; aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic wastewater treatment takes place in the presence of oxygen while anaerobic treatment takes place without the use of air or elemental oxygen.

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