Pump Stations for Housing Developments

commercial wastewater pumping station

Types of Pump Stations for Housing Developments

In order for a housing development to connect to the Irish Water Network to avail of wastewater services, there are codes of practice and standard details that must be followed. These codes and standards relate to the wastewater infrastructure within the development such as pipework, drains, manholes, inspection chambers, storage facilities and pump stations. They are important because they are based on best practice and the experience of local authorities in the provision of wastewater services. The same codes and standards also apply to commercial developments. In this article, we focus on pump stations for housing developments and some of the relevant codes and standards. For a proposed housing development, the site engineer will determine the appropriate requirements for a pump station. He/she will then supply these specifications to a reputable wastewater treatment company in order to provide a suitable pump station.

The table below lists the type of pump stations for housing developments to which the codes and standards refer:

Type Size No. of Dwellings Incoming Peak Design Flow
1 Small 5 or less 0.25 litre/second
2 Mid-range 6 to 20 0.25 – 1 l/s
3 Medium  >20 > 1 l/s


Note: Higher capacity pumping stations are not detailed in the codes and standards but still require the specific approval of Irish Water.

Housing Development Pump Station Cost


Pump stations for housing developments need to be cost effective and must be shown to cost less than a conventional gravity system in a net present value (NPV) assessment over 40 years. Not all new housing developments will require a pump station as a part of the sewerage works but in some instances, due to the topography of the area served, it is a necessity. If this is the case, the developer needs to provide evidence that the physical conditions of the site do not allow for full gravity works.

Impact on Existing Works, Emergency Storage and Overflow

When proposing and designing pump stations for housing developments, the impact on existing wastewater works in the area needs to be taken into consideration. It’s important that the action of the pump station does not compromise the capacity of the existing water network. Irish Water may request the provision of storage facilities at the pumping station to limit the effluent discharge into the public sewerage network.

In the event of flooding during pump or power failure, any resulting overflows have the potential to negatively affect the environment and must be minimized. Any provisions for emergency overflow situations must first be made in agreement with Irish Water and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as part of the design proposal.

Pump Station Operation


A pump station for a housing development must have 100% standby capacity. This means it must have at least two or more submersible pumps on a duty/standby or duty/assist/standby arrangement. Provision for remote monitoring by telemetry should be made in order to transfer data to the Irish Water Control Centre. The system must have the capacity to detect alarm conditions and inform the appropriate parties.

The collection of data must include the following information:

  • Available/Run/Trip status for all pumps
  • Status for all float switches
  • Sump level
  • Instantaneous flow
  • Totalised flow
  • Mains Power Failure
  • UPS Fault/Healthy Status

Installation Works and Testing

During the construction of the pump station, field engineers for Irish Water will carry out site inspections. Onsite staff must keep a quality assurance folder containing the appropriate documentation relating to the installation. After the completion of installation works for any housing development pump station, Irish Water require proof that it is fit for purpose prior to any official use. A document package must be provided to Irish Water personnel prior to commissioning of the pump station. This package must include:

  • operation and maintenance manuals
  • as constructed drawings
  • control panel wiring diagrams
  • warranty documentation
  • full pump details including performance curves and power ratings


This article simply gives an overview of some of the main codes and standards for housing development pump stations required by Irish Water. The site engineer will ensure that the standards are met by providing the design specifications to the pump station suppliers who take care of the rest. The process of connecting to the water network has been made simple by Irish Water, simply visit https://www.water.ie/connections/get-connected/housing-development.xml to begin. The best time to start an application is prior to planning permission.

Disclaimer: This content is not a replacement for the full codes and standards which are available in full at the following links: https://www.water.ie/connections/Wastewater-Code-of-Practice.pdf and https://www.water.ie/connections/Wastewater-Standard-Details.pdf 

Designing a Dairy Wastewater Treatment Plant

dairy produce wastewater treatment systems

An In-House Dairy Wastewater Treatment Plant

The dairy industry uses massive amounts of water to processes raw milk for dairy produce and generates roughly 3 L of wastewater per 1 L of processed milk. It is one of the most polluting of industries, not just in terms of the volume of effluent but also in terms of the composition. Commercial dairies have two options – to pretreat and pay to discharge to municipal sewerage or to operate an in house treatment plant. However, there is no one size fits all solution. There are multiple possible configurations for a dairy wastewater treatment plant, selecting the correct one can be a challenge – but why?

In terms of biodegradability, dairy process wastewater is complex – it contains a combination of easily degradable carbohydrates and not so easily degradable proteins and fats. It is variable in pH also, rapidly changing from alkaline to acidic when lactose ferments to lactic acid. Dairies are multi product factories and the contents of pollutants in the wastewater will change with the start of each new cycle in the production process. This lack of consistency needs to be addressed by the treatment system.

Technologies Used in Dairy Wastewater Treatment

Dairy wastewater needs complex treatment prior to discharge in order to prevent environmental damage. This is due to the high concentration of organic materials including protein, carbohydrates, fats, grease and minerals that elevate BOD. Moreover, dairy factory cleaning processes generate wastewater containing detergents and cleaning agents that increase COD. Although there are many ways to reduce BOD and COD, biological treatment is the main method using aerobic, anaerobic or a combination of both technologies within a dairy wastewater treatment plant.

Steps in the Treatment of Dairy Wastewater

Mechanical treatment of dairy wastewater involves filtering out suspended solids with a mechanical screen. This reduces the organic load and protects the subsequent treatment equipment from blockages. An equalization/buffer tank will hold 6 – 12 hours of influent in order to smooth fluctuations in the flow. Supplying air at this stage helps to mix the wastewater and regulates the consistency for the next treatment stage. FOG removal usually follows flow balancing in a conventional dairy wastewater treatment plant.

Chemical treatment, also known as precipitation, removes colloids and soluble contaminants of dairy wastewater. This stage includes reagent oxidation or pH correction. Dissolved air flotation reduces organic loading with coagulants (Al2(SO4)3, FeSOand FeCl3) and flocculants. Here, controlling the pH is necessary to achieve the best conditions for coagulation (an acidic environment). However, the pH must be adjusted back to neutral levels before the next stage of treatment or can upset activity of microorganisms.

This completes the pretreatment of dairy effluent. It may be possible for a dairy to discharge suitably pretreated wastewater to a municipal treatment plant, with the approval of the relevant authority.

Biological Treatment Systems for Dairy Effluents

Biological treatment removes remaining impurities with the help of microorganisms. Aerobic systems use oxygen to breakdown the organic matter. Within the treatment system, air blowers supply the wastewater with oxygen, allowing the bacteria to multiply continuously. This process results in the formation of an activated sludge or biomass and the separation of clarified effluent. Most of the biomass is recirculated to maintain the biological process.

Dairy wastewater treatment plants often use an SBR system for aerobic treatment, due to its effluent flexibility and loading capability. The resultant effluent is ready for reuse or discharge, the excess sludge requires further treatment. Other aerobic systems include, fixed bed reactors, rotating biological contactors, trickling filters and moving bed biological reactors.

Anaerobic systems, on the other hand, do not require oxygen in order to break down organic matter and as such do not have the high energy requirements associated with aeration in aerobic systems. Other advantages of anaerobic digestion include the production of biogas (an energy source) and less sludge production. An example of a suitable anaerobic system for a dairy wastewater treatment plant is an anaerobic fixed bed reactor (AFBR) due to its capacity for microorganism retention and ability to cope with influent variations/shock loads.

However, anaerobic treatment is only suitable as a preliminary step in the biological treatment of dairy wastewater due to its weak effect on nutrient removal. It must be combined with a localized polishing step. Once aerobic/anaerobic biological treatment is complete, the residual sludge is sent for sludge treatment and disposal.

Cost Savings Associated with In-House Dairy Wastewater Treatment Plant

A study conducted by the Association of German Dairying in 2010 revealed that the costs associated with operating an in-house wastewater treatment plant were up to to 2/3 less than those of direct dischargers i.e. users municipal treatment plants. Ultimately, the most suitable treatment system depends entirely on the process and produce of the individual dairy. The costs associated with anaerobic systems are generally less but such systems are not suitable for all types of dairy effluent. The dairy processing handbook advises to contact local authorities at an early stage when planning a new plant to discuss discharge consents.

A reputable wastewater treatment company will be able to conduct the necessary tests in order to provide the most suitable and cost effective treatment system for a commercial dairy. A pilot scale system can be tweaked and tailored to suit the treatment requirements of a particular dairy before a full scale treatment system is put into place. Remember – every dairy is different!

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Foul Pump Stations Explained

domestic sewage effluent pump station

What is a Foul Pump Station?

Foul pump stations move wastewater from A to B in low gravity areas and are also known as lift stations. Wastewater flows downhill, but what happens if it needs to get back up to higher ground? This is where a foul pump station comes in – to give it a push to get there!

A typical foul pump station consists of a tank with an inlet, an outlet and one or more pumps inside that use electricity. When sewage enters the pump station and reaches a certain level, a float switch activates the pump. The pump then propels the wastewater to next point of call such as a sewer or a treatment plant.

Large wastewater pump stations include a control panel to allow for manual operation during maintenance work or repairs. During normal conditions, pumping stations operate on a single pump or set of pumps but will have back up pumps ready to take over in case a pump fails. This is known as built in redundancy.

Pumping stations are the most effective way to move wastewater. The size of the pump station and power of the pumps will depend on the volume and the type of wastewater to be pumped, so let’s take a look at at some different types.

Traditional Pump Stations

Older pump stations often consist of a wet well and a separate, adjacent dry well which houses the pumps. The wet well is the holding place for wastewater that flows via gravity and is hooked up to the pumps inside the dry well. Dry well pumping stations are no longer a popular option for two reasons:

  1. Confined underground space access – making maintenance and repair work tricky and hazardous
  2. Flooding risk – leaky pipework or pump failure can flood the dry well with sewage and cause expensive damage

It’s for this reason that wet well pump stations and wet wells with integrated pumps have come to replace traditional dry well pump stations. The pumps inside a wet well are known as submersible pumps and we’ll discuss these in the next section.

Submersible Pumps


As the name suggests, submersible pumps are submerged in wastewater. The motor in a submersible pump is carefully sealed to prevent any liquid from entering it and causing it to fail. Submersible pumps can be lifted to ground level using a chain and guide rail system which is much safer and easier than accessing pumps in a dry well for maintenance and repairs. Foul pump stations with submersible pumps operate across a huge variety of applications from domestic and light commercial to municipal and industrial. See below for the typical operational ranges of submersible pumps:

  • Flow rate ranges between 20 to 28000 lpm
  • Horsepower ranges between 1 to 250 hp
  • Total head (pressure) ranges between 0.4 to 6 Bar


Grinder Pumps

In some applications, it may be necessary for the foul pump station to be capable of handling solids. A grinder pump, typically used in domestic sewage pumping applications, will reduce solids in the wastewater to create a fine slurry which it will then pump to a septic tank or a sewer. In residential areas, one grinder pump station may serve multiple houses.

Packaged Pump Stations


A packaged pump station is a self contained system with all the internal pipework fitted inside a watertight, reinforced tank. After the tank is installed below ground, the submersible pump and control equipment are fitted and connected to the power supply. Once the inlet and outlet pipes are connected to the pump station it is ready to operate. Packaged foul pump stations are a very popular choice due to the ease of installation, access and maintenance. A reputable wastewater treatment company will often include service checks as part of the package.

Control Equipment

Pumping up to thousands of litres of wastewater and sewage on a daily basis will inevitably cause internal wear and tear. That’s why controls and alarms are essential equipment for foul pump stations. When the wastewater rises above a certain level an alarm will notify of a failure in the system. Suppliers may even offer a remote monitoring service with SCADA, the Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition system. This is particularly helpful with large foul pump stations that need close supervision and regular checks.

Do I Need Sewage Pump Station?

Foul pump stations are an essential part of wastewater treatment. Without pump stations, wastewater accumulates in low gravity areas, backs up pipes, overflows into buildings and floods land. Even if you weren’t aware of it, or unless you live on the top of a hill, there is probably a pump station close by! If you are building a new home and think you may need a foul pump station, get in touch with a local wastewater treatment company, they will advise you best. The same is true for commercial premises.

Commercial Bakery Wastewater Treatment Systems

commercial bakery wastewater treatment process equipment

Commercial bakery wastewater treatment

Commercial bakeries produce a strong type of sewage that poses a risk to the environment without the right form of wastewater treatment. Even if discharging to a mains sewer, raw bakery sewage is still much too concentrated for a municipal treatment plant to process.

Although nontoxic, bakery wastewater is high in organic compounds which are harmful to ecosystems if not sufficiently broken down. As a result of washing and rinsing equipment and floors, over half of the water a bakery uses ends up as sewage. This type of sewage is oxygen deficient and high in organic compounds due conditions that hinder the biological breakdown process such as;

  • the lack of particular nutrients to feed the bacteria responsible for breaking down organic matter
  • the presence of oil and grease that deprive the bacteria of the oxygen they need
  • the use of excess cleaning agents that inhibit the growth of bacteria to large enough numbers

When raw sewage like this enters the environment it wreaks havoc with the natural ecosystems and as such, wastewater treatment is absolutely essential for a commercial bakery.

Discharge limits for commercial bakeries

Whether a bakery discharges to a public sewer or has its own treatment plant on site, there are strict discharge limits in place to protect the environment. Local governing bodies will issue a commercial bakery with a discharge license provided that it can meet the specified discharge limits. For example, details for consent to discharge to the Anglian Water region can be found here.

There will be regular inspections to check that the wastewater continues to meet the requirements set out in the license. It is the responsibility of the bakery owner to ensure compliance with the license or otherwise risk hefty fines and even closure of the premises until the necessary action has been taken. You will find information about the Irish legislation by following the link below.

Under Section 16 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977 (as amended), an individual or business may not discharge a trade effluent to the sewer except in accordance with a licence issued under these regulations.

Meeting discharge limits will require the services of a reputable wastewater treatment company who can plan and implement a solution for treating the bakery wastewater to the correct standards. They will design and provide a suitable onsite wastewater treatment system to meet the demands of the bakery and the local discharge limits.

Bakery wastewater treatment systems and processes

In general bakery wastewater contains high contents of organic pollutants, suspended solids (SS) and fats, oils and greases (FOG) which result in a high chemical oxygen demand (COD). Whether discharging direct or to a municipal plant, effectively treating wastewater with high COD requires a series of physical, chemical and biological treatment processes.

The main organic components in bakery wastewater are flour, sugar, oil, grease, and yeast. Primary treatment of bakery wastewater involves reducing the suspended solids and removing the floatable FOG. Secondary treatment involves removing the dissolved biodegradable components through a biological process using microorganisms/bacteria.

The volume and strength of the wastewater depends on the products/processes and varies according to the operational times of the bakery. For example, pastry produces the greatest volume of wastewater while cakes produce the strongest wastewater. Because the flow rate and loading of bakery wastewater will vary throughout the day, an equalization tank or buffer tank for temporary storage can help to meet the demands of peak discharge times.

Primary Treatment/Pretreatment

Primary treatment requires a screening process to firstly remove any coarse particles in the bakery sewage. Screens vary in the size of the openings from micrometers to in excess of 100 millimeters. The right type of screen will depend on the characteristics of the wastewater and the requirements of the bakery. The next step in the treatment process involves separating and skimming FOG from the screened wastewater. Traditional treatment systems use mechanical scrapers to remove FOG from bakery wastewater. Acidification can further help to break down any remaining FOG by adding an acid such as sulfuric acid which helps to keep the pH at an optimal level. Coagulation and flocculation work on any remaining fine SS by making the particles clump together for easier removal with the addition of chemicals such as alum and ferric chloride combined with a mixing process.

DAF for primary treatment of bakery wastewater

Dissolved air flotation (DAF) is an effective, proven means of bakery wastewater treatment. A good DAF system will remove SS, FOG, control pH and precondition the wastewater to a level optimum for secondary or biological treatment. For a commercial bakery discharging to a public sewer, a DAF system is an ideal solution to improving the quality of the wastewater so that it meets discharge limits and is safe for treatment at a municipal plant. If a bakery is not discharging to municipal sewerage works, the wastewater will require secondary treatment prior to discharge.

Biological treatment of bakery wastewater

The objective of secondary or biological treatment of bakery wastewater is to remove the remaining biodegradable components in the wastewater using microorganisms. There are different methods to achieve this but the most suitable one will depend on the requirements of the bakery. A wastewater professional will be able to make recommendations or carry out tests to determine which method will work best.

The most common form of secondary treatment for bakery wastewater is the  activated sludge process which uses suspended growth microorganisms. Here, waste flows around and through free-floating microorganisms and settles out as a type of sludge, most of which can be recycled back into the system. The typical arrangement of an activated sludge process is an aeration tank (bioreactor) that provides the bacteria in the wastewater with oxygen, and a settling tank (final clarifier) to allow the resulting sludge to settle and be reused/removed.

SBR for secondary treatment of bakery wastewater

A sequential batch reactor (SBR) is very effective biological treatment system that uses the activated sludge process. An SBR system treats batches of wastewater in a timed sequence. While the final clarifier is settling and decanting, the bioreactor is aerating and filling. Clear water collects in the top of the clarifier where it is now clean and suitable for discharge. SBR is just one method of biologically treating wastewater from a bakery, there are many others. Again, the most suitable system will depend on the size of the bakery and the characteristics of the wastewater.

In the end, the most important thing to realize is that without a treatment system, bakery wastewater is harmful to the environment. It could potentially be harmful to the business too if discharging it without a license or failing to meet the conditions of an existing license. Installing a treatment plant in a bakery doesn’t have to be a monumental task, a reliable wastewater treatment company will help to come up with a solution that meets the requirements of both the bakery and the discharge consent.

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Septic Tank Conversion

septic tank upgrade

From Septic Tank to Sewage Treatment Plant

A wastewater treatment professional will often recommend a septic tank conversion as a suitable remedy for a problematic septic tank or sewage system. It sounds intriguing but what does it mean, why is it necessary and what will it cost? In this blog post we discuss what’s involved when converting a septic system into an functional sewage treatment plant.

Why convert a septic tank?

A septic tank conversion is a method of upgrading a septic system that may be old, broken, or failing to meet treatment standards. Wastewater treatment professionals usually recommend this option when the existing sewage system retains some levels of functionality and could still be useful in treating the sewage.

In general, converting a septic tank means adding specific treatment equipment to the existing system. You’ll often hear the industry professionals refer to such equipment as conversion units or kits. Once connected, the conversion kit will significantly improve the treatment efficacy of the system and therefore the standard of the treated wastewater.


Faulty septic tanks pose a threat to water quality and public health by contaminating ground water sources and exposing us to nasty pathogens. There are approximately 1 million E. coli bacteria per litre of effluent from a typical domestic septic tank. The drinking water standard for E. coli and coliform bacteria is zero so there is simply no room for compromise. If your septic tank needs upgrading its in everyone’s best interests to do so.

Different types of sewage system conversions

What differs on a case by case basis is where to put the conversion unit in relation to the old septic tank. Installing after a septic tank means connecting the unit to the outlet, or downstream of the septic tank. This particular type of conversion unit is known as an add on. In this case, the septic tank acts a form of primary wastewater treatment. The advantage here is that it will intercept slowly degradable items such as baby wipes and tampons while the conversion unit completes the task of cleaning of the wastewater.


The other option is to install a conversion kit into an existing septic tank, known as an in tank conversion. At the present moment, there is no European Standard for in-tank kits, so they can not obtain a CE mark. This does not mean that they do not work, but rather that they can not be tested to any of the EN 12566 standards for small type sewage treatment plants. However, in tank conversion kits can be just as effective when it comes to treating the wastewater.

It is up to the relevant local authority or governing body to approve an in tank conversion kit for use in an existing sewage system. It must have the capacity to improve the existing quality of the effluent to acceptable standards and you can ask the supplier for proof of performance. If you are thinking of buying an in tank conversion unit, contact the relevant local authority to seek advice on the matter. It will depend on the general binding rules for your locality [see rules for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland].

What will a conversion kit cost?

You can breathe a sigh of relief that in general, a septic tank conversion will cost less than a new sewage treatment plant but you must be certain that it is the most economical long term option. This is largely to do with the health of your existing sewage system and a wastewater treatment professional will advise you best here.

Whether you are using an add on or an in tank conversion kit, you’ll need access to the septic tank and access to a power supply as most conversion units require electricity to operate. An add on conversion unit will require digging a suitably sized excavation close to the existing sewage system. Once in the ground, the installer will connect the septic tank outlet to the conversion unit. For in tank conversions, there must be enough space to house the equipment which the installers will put into place once they gain access to the tank.

All in all, septic tank conversions are a useful and cost effective way of improving the performance of your sewage system but only if the existing septic tank is in suitable condition. Do not go ahead with any installation without first checking that the conversion unit is approved by the relevant local authorities. Any reliable wastewater treatment professional will provide the appropriate test results to prove the efficacy of his/her conversion system. With the risk that an old or faulty septic poses to human health and the environment, upgrading or replacing is worth the money.

Above Ground Wastewater Treatment Plants

containerised wastewater treatment plant for industrial sewage treatment

In this article we talk about above ground wastewater treatment plants. Such as what they are, when and how they developed, and their advantages by comparison to below ground treatment plant types.

Above Ground Wastewater Treatment – what does it mean?

Modern wastewater treatment developed around 1850. Outbreaks of deadly waterborne disease were rife in densely populated areas. When we eventually came to realize that our wastewater was the culprit we began to change our habits. So we started to bury our waste deep in chambers underground – out of sight, out of mind!

Following that, Frenchman John Mouras accidentally invented the first septic tank in 1800s. The basic design featured two concrete chambers into which domestic wastewater would flow and exit. Upon entering the first chamber through an inlet pipe, the solid waste would settle to the bottom to form sludge. After that, any remaining liquid waste would enter the second chamber before exiting through an outlet pipe to the ground.

The basic septic tank design remained much the same for the next century or so, but the process of treating the wastewater improved with advancements in technology. Treating wastewater basically involves improving its quality, so that it’s safer to discharge back to the environment. The higher the quality of the treated wastewater, the better for everyone! Have a look at this infographic by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency on domestic wastewater sludge management to understand more.

So as the term implies, “above ground wastewater treatment” means not sending wastewater to underground chambers for treatment, but to treatment plants on ground level instead.

Types of systems

An above ground wastewater treatment system does what it says on the tin – it treats wastewater above ground. Let’s take a look at two different types of above ground wastewater treatment plants.

Container Plants

Container plants are mobile wastewater treatment systems for above ground installation. They quite literally “contain” all the necessary systems to treat wastewater produced from domestic, commercial or industrial sites. Container plants come in various different sizes, with various types of wastewater treatment technology included appropriate for the particular type of treatment level necessary. Often, they will not require any major excavation work or existing infrastructure for installation. Have a look at our container plants for a better idea.

Concrete Systems

Another typical above ground wastewater treatment system is a concrete system. A concrete system can be installed above or below ground. When installed above ground, a concrete system can also be relocated if necessary. It carries out the same function as a container plant, without the container. The concrete chamber itself is the container, and there can be more than one to carry out the various treatment processes. Have a look at our concrete systems for a better idea.

Why go with above ground wastewater treatment?

Firstly, the most obvious reason is ease of installation. Apart from hooking up the system up to the inlet and outlet pipes, it’s plug and play. In addition, if moving or relocating a system is necessary it’s very easy to do.

Secondly, above ground systems are an economical alternative to expensive excavation or civil works needed to install below ground systems. For example, if a site is too wet or has shallow bed rock, installing an above ground system significantly reduces installation costs.

Finally, above ground systems are naturally, far more accessible than below ground systems. If they need emptying, servicing or an upgrade it’s quick and easy to do. If there’s a problem, diagnosing and fixing it isn’t an issue.


In short, above ground wastewater treatment systems are suitable for installation on any project type due to their versatility and flexibility. For domestic wastewater treatment applications, concrete systems can cater from 6 to 18 persons. On the other end of the spectrum, containerized treatment plants can cater for up to 20,000 persons.

You will typically find them in

  • Homes
  • Hotels
  • Schools
  • Nursing Homes
  • Factories
  • Construction Sites
  • Municipal wastewater treatment [permanent and temporary]
  • Mobile worker camps
  • Temporary industrial sites
  • Offshore Facilities
  • Military camps
  • Refugee camps

So that concludes our overview of above ground wastewater treatment systems. If you would like to know more or need a wastewater treatment system for your project, give our technical sales team a call – we’d be happy to help!

Brewery Wastewater Treatment Solutions

brewery wastewater treatment process equipment

Wastewater produced by breweries is rather unique. The brewing process creates alcohol, sugars, and proteins that all end up in its wastewater. If brewery wastewater rich in nutrients is discharged without the correct treatment it can seriously interfere with natural ecosystems.

Brewery wastewater has a high BOD, “biochemical oxygen demand”. In other words, it needs a lot of oxygen for decomposition. In rivers, large algae blooms form in nutrient-rich wastewater. As they feed off the nutrients, they leave little oxygen for the fish. And that’s just one example of how untreated brewery wastewater can harm the environment.

Can you imagine that it used to be acceptable for breweries and other industries to pump their wastewater to the nearest river? Not anymore thankfully! Here’s a very basic breakdown of some modern techniques that make brewery wastewater safe for discharge to the environment. The same often applies to industries that produce nutrient-rich wastewater. For example, the restaurant wastewater treatment process or food and drink wastewater treatment processes.

Brewery Wastewater Treatment Processes

Removal of Heavy Solids in Brewery Wastewater

Brewery wastewater is usually treated in stages by passing through a series of tanks. The first step is the removal of the solids in the brewery wastewater. Brewery wastewater is solid heavy due to the all the grain from the brewing process like barley and hops for example. Coarse and fine mechanical screens filter out the solids in the first step of the treatment process.

Removal of Lighter Solids and Biochemical Treatment of Brewery Wastewater

Aeration inside Buffer Tanks

Once the heavy solids are gone, the remaining wastewater needs biochemical treatment. Buffer tanks allow the brewery wastewater to pass through the system in set quantities, rather than a constant flow. The buffer tank fills to a certain extent before it periodically empties wastewater into the next tank in line. This allows really thorough treatment of the wastewater. It also helps the system to cope with shock loads. The buffer tank may even carry out part of the treatment process itself. For example, aerated buffer tanks, as the name suggests, add oxygen to the wastewater to help the bacteria break down the nutrients faster.


Suspended matter in the wastewater, like oil for example, is then removed by a process known as DAF “dissolved air floatation”. Air is dissolved under pressure in the wastewater, then released again at atmospheric pressure. This causes tiny air bubbles to stick to the suspended matter and form a foam which floats to the surface and can then be skimmed off.

Lamella Clarifier

A lamella clarifier removes small particles from liquids in a settling process using a series of inclined plates. Solid particles begin to settle on the plates and accumulate at the bottom of the clarifier unit. The sludge is drawn off the bottom and the clarified liquid exits the unit over a weir at the top.

Fixed Bed Reactor

The fixed-bed reactor is a submerged structure with a large surface area that microorganisms can grow on. This creates a biofilm for the wastewater to pass through, filtering out biochemicals to feed the microorganisms. Aerators provide the oxygen for the chemical breakdown process.

Brewing up a storm

To conclude, thanks to technology in wastewater treatment we can keep our environment safe from the harmful byproducts of the brewing process. In order to continue enjoying the good stuff breweries come out with we need to keep improving the ways, we deal with the not so good stuff! Leading wastewater engineering companies have developed many economical and eco-friendly sewage treatment solutions for breweries. Click here to see some examples.

By law, all new and existing breweries need to ensure that their wastewater is safe and clean. Otherwise, they could face closure, or hefty fines and penalties. Environmental authorities are responsible for keeping a check on it. We’ve definitely improved our standards since the heydays of dumping rich raw waster into rivers and lakes!

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Hotel Wastewater Treatment


A good hotel needs a good, reliable hotel wastewater treatment plant. Without one, a hotel wouldn’t function. Big or small, a hotel of any size creates plenty of wastewater. Hotel wastewater comes from all the ensuite bathrooms, the kitchen, the bar, the laundry room, the gym, the swimming pool…the list goes on!  With such a large amount of wastewater, it’s vital that the hotel treatment system can cope with the load.

Any hotel manager dealing with a faulty hotel septic system knows the unnecessary stress it can cause. Expensive repairs, maintenance and guests grumbling about bad smells and blocked toilets are simply not worth it!

Upgrade Hotel Wastewater Treatment System

If you’re in the hotel business and your hotel septic tank is giving you grief, it’s time to get it sorted. But where to start? The answer is easy – safety first! When a hotel septic system is properly located, engineered, installed and maintained it won’t contaminate natural water sources. Otherwise, an old or faulty hotel septic system can pollute the environment and threaten public health and safety.

The environment authority and environmental protection agency are the bodies responsible for carrying out checks on commercial wastewater systems in the UK and Ireland. If the effluent falls below standard, you’ll need to have it quickly sorted. How might the effluent fall below standard? More often than not, it’s because of an old or faulty hotel septic tank. But repairs take time and can be costly.

Modern packaged hotel wastewater treatment plants and hotel septic systems are far more efficient and eco-friendly. It’s often better to replace or upgrade the hotel wastewater system entirely. It will cost a lot less in terms of time, money and stress in the long run.

New Hotel Wastewater Treatment Plants

If it’s a new hotel that needs a new hotel wastewater treatment system, there are various checks in place. Apart from the obvious, like the capacity and location of the system, the quality of the effluent has to be of a safe standard.

A hotel wastewater system must meet environmental regulations specific to the location of the hotel. These regulations ensure that the system does not harm the local surroundings. As hotels are often located close to rivers, lakes or the sea the hotel wastewater treatment plant needs to follow strict environmental protection regulations.

Protecting the natural habitat and preserving the quality of source water in the area should always be top priority. Maintaining the natural beauty of the local environment will benefit business for the hotel too. Depending on the location, you may need to apply for a permit to discharge hotel wastewater.

Permits and regulations concerning commercial wastewater treatment systems vary between the UK and Ireland. Follow the links below for more specific information.

What Kind of Treatment System

It can be overwhelming trying to find the best packaged plant for hotel wastewater treatment. A good wastewater treatment company will provide you with good advice and best recommendations for your needs.

Here at Biocell, our experts recommend SBR type systems for hotel wastewater treatment. In a nutshell, an SBR system works under non-steady state conditions. This means that it can treat a wide range of wastewater volumes. Hotels have peak times and off seasons. An SBR system works with this in mind to autodetect high and low volumes of wastewater. It doesn’t run constantly therefore making it a low cost and energy efficient option – ideal for hotels.

A final word of advice

A hotel wastewater system can be overwhelmed by large volumes of grease and oils. Not only clogging pipes and creating bad smells, grease and oils interfere with the treatment process. The effluent then falls below standard and ends up polluting the environment. Grease and oils usually come from wastewater produced in kitchens and restaurants but can’t be avoided.

However, a grease trap intercepts most greases and solids before they enter a wastewater treatment system. If you’re going to install a brand new wastewater treatment system, get the grease trap in order too. Don’t let a poorly installed or overflowing grease trap be the reason your hotel septic system fails! You can read more about the effects of oils and grease on septic systems in one of our earlier blogs here.


School Wastewater Treatment System

school building

Schools throughout England, Scotland Wales and Ireland are busting at the seams. The Irish Education Minister estimates €40m in new classroom accommodation and school sewage treatment facilities is needed. So with the inevitable expansion and building of new schools comes the planning and installation of its vital facilities. It’s safe to say that a new school simply couldn’t operate without a suitable school wastewater treatment system. And existing schools may need a school septic tank upgrade.

Schools in the UK spend £70 million annually on the provision of fresh water and the treatment of  school wastewater, says the leading authority on water conservation Waterwise. In the UK, water is usually charged in cubic meters (1000 litres) for both the supply and the discharge (sewerage). With a limited budget, it’s so important that a school sewage system doesn’t send money down the drain! If a school is expanding, it will need a school septic tank upgrade to cope with the greater number of students.

Water conservation, the reduction of waste and sustainability are top of the agenda when it comes to new builds. For that reason, an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system is ideal. Have a look at this government guide to sustainable school operation in the UK.

When is a school wastewater treatment system needed?

Primarily, it depends on the location of the new school site. If the site doesn’t have access to a mains sewer the school will needs its own school wastewater treatment plant. In rare cases, the local planning authority may require that the new school have its own system even with access to a mains sewer. This could be if the municipal wastewater treatment plant is already operating at maximum capacity. In short, schools located in rural, remote and countryside areas will most often require a school wastewater treatment system. You’ll find detailed commercial wastewater treatment system guidelines here for Ireland. And here’s some commercial sewage treatment guidelines for ScotlandWales and England.

What to look for in a school wastewater treatment system

Whether a particular commercial wastewater treatment system will work or not for a school depends on the requirements of the school itself. Naturally, the system needs to meet CE standards and treat the commercial wastewater to the accepted standards. You’ll find all that technical stuff covered in the guidelines I mentioned above. But here’s a few things to consider if planning to install a school wastewater treatment system in particular:

  • Robust – can it handle the maximum daily load of wastewater?
  • Flexible – will it work after the holidays when its had little use?
  • Energy efficient – are the running costs low?

Find a company with good experience in commercial wastewater treatment system design, construction and maintenance. Biocell Water are an internationally recognized provider of such sewage systems and you’ll find many examples of their work on school sites here. In particular, have a look at their best product recommendation for treating commercial wastewater here. It ticks all the boxes.

Caravan Parks Wastewater Treatment

caravan park wastewater sewage treatment

According to a market report carried out in 2017, business is better now in the caravan and holiday parks industry than since the boom years of 2008. Across the UK and Ireland staycations have taken on a greater appeal since the recession as a less expensive alternative to a holiday abroad. In 2017, rural hotspots and popular beach destinations throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland experienced significant growth in business.  Residents opted to holiday at home and overseas tourists were lured by the pound’s weakness after Brexit. Naturally, an increase in visitors to caravan parks, campsites, and holiday parks strengthens demand on the park facilities. It’s extremely important that the most basic facilities are in good order to cater for the masses. Most notably, the caravan parks wastewater treatment system.

Impact on business of a caravan parks wastewater treatment system

It would be very damaging for business if a caravan park did not have a properly functioning wastewater treatment system.

Firstly, it could harm the environment through water pollution. The Environment Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency have set down strict regulations regarding commercial wastewater treatment. You can view the discharge regulations for the Republic of Ireland here and for the UK here. If the treated wastewater falls below standard or if the correct permits are not in place, the owner could face prosecution and/or hefty fines. It’s simply not worth the risk.

Secondly, an inefficient or ineffective wastewater treatment system could cause damage to the park grounds and facilities. Flooding, blockages, slow flushing toilets, clogged showers and bad odors due to a failing septic system could ruin the reputation of a good campsite or caravan park. There can be no coming back from a couple of bad reviews on trip advisor! Not only that, fixing the damage due to a faulty system would cost a fortune and drain revenue for the business. In spite of this, many campsite and caravan parks wastewater treatment systems are still outdated and inadequate.

Escape to the countryside

Most people go camping to get away from busier places. You’d never find a caravan park or a campsite in the middle of a city – it would defeat the purpose entirely! It’s for the same reason that caravan parks and campsites require their own wastewater treatment systems. The vast majority are on rural land far from busy urban centres and nowhere near a mains sewer. Mains sewers collect urban wastewater and transport it to a common wastewater treatment plant. So all the wastewater generated in busy caravan park needs to be treated onsite before its release back to the environment.

Is my caravan parks wastewater treatment system adequate?

It’s easy to get bogged down with all the legal stuff when it comes to commercial wastewater treatment. The regulations differ between ScotlandWales, and Northern Ireland, and you can follow the links for more details. But in general, all governing bodies have heightened their environmental protection standards. So if a site is operating on an old septic system, chances are it’ll soon have to be replaced. If you’re running a campsite or caravan park and have doubts about the sewage system in place, you can contact us – we’d be happy to help.

A good caravan park wastewater treatment plant needs to be effective in all seasons. In times of greater use, like during high season, the system needs to be able to cope with an increased load of wastewater. Bear in mind that rainfall will add to the load too.

In turn, the system should work equally well with much smaller loads during the off season. Installation, running and maintenance costs should be kept to a minimum – you’re running a business after all. But that doesn’t mean compromising on the quality of your facilities.

Here at Biocell, we offer a wide range of wastewater treatment solutions. You can take a look at the system we recommend for caravan parks and campsites here. All of our products meet the current regulations for Great Britain and Ireland and our prices are very competitive. We would be very happy to help you choose your campsite or caravan parks wastewater treatment system.