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jbmccraney

Waste Water -- Anyone use Septic Tanks?

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Hi Everyone,

Does anyone have experience using septic tanks for their operation's waste water? I've unfortunately had limited success finding info on this for distilleries. 

As a backdrop, I am considering a leased location for a startup distillery. However, this is a first where it did not use the city's waste.

Any insights are greatly appreciated!

Best,

Brandon

 

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I am on septic.  I installed septic specifically for the distillery and had to get a permit from the county sanitarian. I also had to work with State Department of Environmental Protection on a plan showing where all wastes where going, then they checked with sanitarian to make sure everyone was on the same page.  My permit does not allow for washing grain or spent stillage into the floor drain.  I am permitted for a certain amount of gallons per day/week for cleaning and the use of two bathrooms. I was told to avoid much alcohol going into system as it has high biological oxygen demand and can kill the life in the septic.  Also have to be careful about putting to much water at once in as it can wash the solids from tank into your leachfield and clog it.  For example running your dephleg and condensor water into drain for long period of time.  I collect mine in a tank and land apply just to avoid clogging my septic.  You may want to look at a closed loop with chiller for your condensor and dephleg water if land application is not an option as volume of water will likely be more than septic can handle. You can ask potential landlord to see copy of septic permit, it should show you the size of the tank and layout and what it is permitted for.   

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21 hours ago, Still_Holler said:

I am on septic.  I installed septic specifically for the distillery and had to get a permit from the county sanitarian. I also had to work with State Department of Environmental Protection on a plan showing where all wastes where going, then they checked with sanitarian to make sure everyone was on the same page.  My permit does not allow for washing grain or spent stillage into the floor drain.  I am permitted for a certain amount of gallons per day/week for cleaning and the use of two bathrooms. I was told to avoid much alcohol going into system as it has high biological oxygen demand and can kill the life in the septic.  Also have to be careful about putting to much water at once in as it can wash the solids from tank into your leachfield and clog it.  For example running your dephleg and condensor water into drain for long period of time.  I collect mine in a tank and land apply just to avoid clogging my septic.  You may want to look at a closed loop with chiller for your condensor and dephleg water if land application is not an option as volume of water will likely be more than septic can handle. You can ask potential landlord to see copy of septic permit, it should show you the size of the tank and layout and what it is permitted for.   

Thank you Still_Holler. Will look into the closed loop. Land application could be a challenge being in the city. How big is your operation?

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We separate our spent stillage and used to send the liquid/fines down the drain....miserable. We would have to get the 1k gal septic tank pumped every couple of months and the septic cleaning guys HATED us.

We've since gone to a "settling pond" type operation (which was fun to get approved by the county)...similar to what cattle and hog farms use. This works very well as long as we keep pH neutral enough to promote healthy digestion of the fines in the settling pond. We do drain the pond every once and awhile to dig it out and apply to land with a manure spreader....works pretty well but obviously doesn't always smell the best!

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5 hours ago, jbmccraney said:

Thank you Still_Holler. Will look into the closed loop. Land application could be a challenge being in the city. How big is your operation?

We have a 200 gal masher and still.

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Based on my experience in running septic on a decent sized commercial property and what I have read on the matter this is a very tricky affair due to the potentially high bioactive nature of what is hitting the drainfield, which can destroy it in short order. I suggest you go over to Probrewer forums and read all threads regarding the subject. There is some good and detailed intel there.

 

Star

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You don't say where you are.

They tried first to review us as a brewery/laughtering grain. But we don't. we distill on the grain, use backset and use wet stillage for cattle feed. All cooling water is closed loop and reused for mashing and further cooling.

We were approved for septic, fairly easily. Although it took time,  State Planning Engineer reviewed our process and determined that we would be pumping little to no solids into the septic. State EPA wanted no part of reviewing us as it was a closed system/process.

Write your process. Make them look at YOUR PROCESS, not a brewery.

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On 2/7/2018 at 1:26 PM, Stumpy's said:

We separate our spent stillage and used to send the liquid/fines down the drain....miserable. We would have to get the 1k gal septic tank pumped every couple of months and the septic cleaning guys HATED us.

We've since gone to a "settling pond" type operation (which was fun to get approved by the county)...similar to what cattle and hog farms use. This works very well as long as we keep pH neutral enough to promote healthy digestion of the fines in the settling pond. We do drain the pond every once and awhile to dig it out and apply to land with a manure spreader....works pretty well but obviously doesn't always smell the best!

Thank you, Stumpy. This was helpful!

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11 hours ago, Falling Rock said:

You don't say where you are.

They tried first to review us as a brewery/laughtering grain. But we don't. we distill on the grain, use backset and use wet stillage for cattle feed. All cooling water is closed loop and reused for mashing and further cooling.

We were approved for septic, fairly easily. Although it took time,  State Planning Engineer reviewed our process and determined that we would be pumping little to no solids into the septic. State EPA wanted no part of reviewing us as it was a closed system/process.

Write your process. Make them look at YOUR PROCESS, not a brewery.

Excellent. Thank you Falling Rock!

 

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