Wineries Innovate to Re-use Wastewater

by | Oct 3, 2011

The Parducci, Caymus, Conundrum, Alpha Omega and Rombauer wineries are applying innovative methods to treat their wastewater, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article.

The most common treatment method for winery wastewater, a pond with large motors that aerate the liquid, takes up a lot of land, is noisy and tends to smell.

Instead, Caymus and Conondrum winemaker Chuck Wagner installed a Lyve hydrate system, a series of tanks in a shed behind the winery. These use filters to remove big solids and oxygen pumps to help microbes break down smaller particles, and the whole system takes up only about 2,000 square feet, compared to a pond of one or two acres.

Once the water has been processed, it can be used for irrigation. Alpha Omega and Rombauer are also using Lyve systems.

Meanwhile at Parducci in Mendocino, Calif., the filtration system starts with manual labor: workers use brooms and shovels to pick up most of the winemaking debris. The runoff goes to a compost pile, then into tanks to let solids settle, then through “trickle towers,” over boards covered in microbes, and finally into wetlands covering about a quarter of an acre. Thornhill says the wetlands not only filter the water but provide a haven for wildlife.

Recently, Cornell University researchers found that Alka-Seltzer tablets can replace the use of elemental sulfur in grape-growing, by protecting vines from powdery mildew disease while preventing a rotten egg aroma from entering the wine itself. And the same protocol could be used in the wastewater management sector, the scientists said.

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