Over 20 Years of Successful Wastewater Treatment at Australia’s Oldest Dairy Processor

Location: Allansford, Victoria, Australia • Sector: Food & Beverage

The Client:
Warrnambool Cheese & Butter (WCB) has been producing dairy products for over 125 years, making it the oldest dairy processor in Australia. It produces a range of high-quality dairy products for domestic and export markets and has won several awards from the Dairy Industry Association of Australia.

The Client’s Needs:
WCB operates a manufacturing complex in Allansford, near Warrnambool, in southwest Victoria, Australia. The site, which covers approximately 17 hectares (42 acres), is comprised of separate manufacturing facilities for cheese, milk powders, whey protein concentrate, butter, cream, and packaged milk. The dairy processor required a wastewater treatment solution to upgrade its existing treatment and disposal methods.

The Solution:
ADI Systems was referred by an Australian engineering consulting firm for the project, and now—nearly 20 years later—ADI Systems and WCB still enjoy a successful working relationship founded on reliable wastewater treatment technology. ADI Systems’ low-rate anaerobic ADI-BVF® reactor is a popular choice for dairy processors because of its proven success digesting whey and fat, oil, and grease (FOG). A pilot study confirmed the suitability of the technology for WCB’s wastewater, and the system is still operating today.

The BVF® reactor at WCB’s manufacturing facility is a 39,300 m3 (10.4 MG) in-ground basin made of earthen and concrete. It is covered with a geomembrane cover for biogas collection purposes and lined with XR-5® geomembrane fabric to ensure that effluent does not enter the groundwater. Biogas generated in the BVF® reactor is captured and used as a renewable source of energy for heating the reactor.

The reactor has a design flow of 1,860 m3/d (0.49 mgd) and was designed for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and suspended solids (SS) removals of 88 percent, 85 percent, and 50 percent, respectively. It operates at 30°C (86°F) and has a hydraulic retention time of 21 days.

The scope of ADI Systems’ services for the project included full-scale process design, internal piping design, detailed design, and shop drawings, as well as aftercare as part of ADI Systems’ commitment to continued customer service.

The Results:
WCB’s adoption of ADI Systems’ technology has resulted in improved wastewater treatment and disposal at the dairy’s manufacturing facility. The wastewater flow at WCB is sometimes more than double the design number, hydraulically challenging the system. Despite this challenge, the BVF® reactor is robust enough to handle the extra flow and dependably treat WCB’s wastewater.

The wastewater treatment system is also helping WCB save money by reducing waste disposal costs.