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A Cutting Edge Waste Water System | News image
A Cutting Edge Waste Water System

A Jordan winery is celebrating the installation of a ground-breaking way to clean its waste water.

Cave Spring Cellars has become the first for any Canadian food-and-beverage company to permanently set up a BioGill cleansing system.

The spark for that change came as the winery was contending with thousands of dollars in annual waste-water sewer surcharges from Niagara Region, and dealing with related odour concerns.

“We knew we had an issue,” said Len Pennachetti, president of Cave Spring. “And we figured over time, with new legislation, and concern about water legislation and there’d be more and more rigorous enforcement.

“So we proactively decided to do something and at the same time expand our crush pad.”

The first step came from Cave Spring operations manager Dave Hooper, who met with the Wine Council of Ontario’s sustainability committee to discuss water and wastewater issues.

Cave Spring itself was looking for a better filtration system, which had been two large holding tanks.

That’s when BLOOM came into the picture.

BLOOM, which had a connection to the Wine Council, is a non-profit organization that supports businesses when they implement sustainable water and resource management practices.

The non-profit in turn connected Cave Spring with EcoEthic, which owns the BioGill technology in Canada, and the system installation was set in motion.

That pilot project ran for about 18 months before the winery made the decision to install it permanently.

That full installation was recently celebrated with a tour and reception held at the winery complex.

Its process involves removing organic material — called biological oxygen demand — which is infused in the wastewater from their winemaking.

When untreated the BOD phenomenon can harm fish as microorganisms that eat the tiny particles in turn use up the water’s oxygen.

Niagara Region’s wastewater facilities take out the BOD, but a surcharge is levied on water that is tested and goes past a threshold.

The new Bio-Gill cleaning system, set by EcoEthic, includes tanks containing vertical membranes or gills where micro-organisms grow. Waste water from the closed drains flows over these gills at varying volumes. Micro-organisms digest the BOD-producing organic materials.

Once the organics are eaten, vastly cleaner water is released into the municipal waste-water system.

It has been previously reported that the pilot project removed as much as 97% of BODs from the winery’s waste water used for winemaking.

Pennachetti said the system cost about $170,000 for the equipment alone, and not including the construction of the new room it sits in — an extension of its cellar that also meant putting a roof over the crush pad.

The winery was also able to use funds from a federal/ provincial Growing Forward 2 agriculture-improvement fund to offset some costs.

“This will certainly reduce the surcharge paid to Niagara Region,” Pennachetti said. “But the return on that investment is over many years.”

“It’s more about getting ahead of the issue and also just doing the right thing. And it’s a technology that allows us to reduce our effluent and take some burden off the system.”

Don Fraser, St. Catharines Standard, November 23, 2015


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