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California winery installs new aeration system to comply with state wastewater regulations

June 30, 2014
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For more than a decade, Conn Creek Winery, a small wine-producing facility in Napa Valley, California, struggled with its wastewater system. In 2000 the company built a 550,000-gallon pond where all of its production wastewater was collected and then reclaimed, before it was reused for irrigation. But the pond and the whole wastewater treatment system at the facility were not in compliance with state environmental regulations, as both the pond's total suspended solids and biological oxygen demand were over the permissible limits for irrigation.

This meant that Conn Creek Winery was not allowed to use the water for irrigation. The problems persisted despite the company spending $75,000 on a dredging procedure, which was followed by the accumulation of 18 inches of sludge in just over a year.

That was when Conn Creek decided to adopt a new treatment system provided by ClearBlu Environment, which introduced an aerobic management system with a more effective aeration process, according to ClearBlu's website. Robert Bixby, co-founder of ClearBlu, explained that in most ponds oxygen only reaches the top few feet, and further down the water is completely anaerobic. But thanks to the innovative system applied by the company, the wastewater treatment at the winery became quicker and there was no sludge built up on the bottom. As a result, Conn Creek was in full compliance with state regulations four months after the technology was first installed.

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