The pollution load from a modern potato processing plant represents a substantial wastewater treatment and disposal problem with considerable potential for process innovation. With continued increase in energy costs, recent developments in treatment of industrial organic wastes by direct anaerobic fermentation rather than conventional energy intensive aerobic processes, offer considerable cost savings for wastewater treatment in the potato and other food processing industries.
The development, through pilot plant investigations, of a low cost, integrated system incorporating anaerobic fermentation and phosphorus removal facilities is described. Details of full scale plant design, performance and costs, including aspects of utilization of treatment plant by-product biogas, and land disposal of residual phosphorus sludge as low grade fertilizer, are presented.
Operating data obtained since commissioning of the full scale plant in January, 1980 demonstrates consistent achievement of an overall B.O.D.5 removal efficiency of 90% and an overall phosphorus removal efficiency of 93%. Total annual treatment cost is $A0.15/kg B0D5 removed (1981 costs).