“What is coming down the wastewater treatment stream is about a bug’s life. You need to understand how pH, temperature and toxic shock affect bacterial activity in a wastewater treatment program,” said Bill McIntire, Hawkins, Inc., during his presentation at the “Wastewater Treatment Challenges – Five Shades of Gray” education program, held during the 2016 International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta. McIntire’s presentation focused on the factors that impact the growth and health of beneficial bacteria, the impact of antimicrobials on the wastewater stream and how bio-augmentation can be a solution.

During his presentation on “Stormwater – The New Challenge,” Dr. Brian Kiepper, University of Georgia, said, “Stormwater challenges are becoming full frontal assaults for us in many states. As these industrial permits are renewed, concerns associated with controlling stormwater quality are becoming more common.”

Keipper remarked that one goal when handling stormwater is to address bacteria in the stormwater, especially storm flow in areas where live animals are handled. His presentation focused on addressing existing and new stormwater quality standards and research to address the origin of bacteria in stormwater runoff.

Jamie Burr, Tyson Foods, provided a presentation titled, “Environmental Impact of Quaternary Compound Use.” He gave an update on a case study that examined the inhibition of a wastewater treatment facility at a Tyson Foods plant brought on by using quaternary compounds as a disinfectant in the processing plant. A systematic review of the treatment process revealed elevated levels of Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), a chelating agent that sequesters ions like calcium, iron and magnesium. An analysis of the wastewater indicated a deficiency in magnesium. In response, Tyson modified its chemical program by adding supplemental magnesium and ferric chloride to serve as a sacrificial ion for EDTA to sequester.

Burr said, “What is the meaning of insanity? – Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

Referencing the challenges Tyson faced throughout the winter of 2015/2016, Burr emphasized Tyson’s commitment to learn from this situation and actively control what they can control to prevent them from falling into this trap. Burr suggested, “Intervention and sanitation chemical usage in processing plants can seriously impact the health and effectiveness of wastewater treatment facilities. This is a significant challenge today and will not get easier.”