Articles & Case Studies

Water Reuse produces massive savings for leading Cornish Beef and Lamb producer

Posted: Thursday 9th April 2009

Prior to the installation of an Eimco Water Technologies’ MBR (Membrane Bioreactor), one of the West Country’s foremost independent beef and lamb producers was spending around £100,000 pa on the disposal of its wastewater.

A proportion of the 17,000m3 of water used p.a. by

Jaspers at its sites in Treburley and Botathan (near Launceston) even included the costly consumption of potable water for low-grade wash-down applications.

But just four months after Eimco Water Technologies’ MBR installation, 60% of the treated wastewater effluent at its beef plant in Treburley had already been reused for low-grade reuse applications, whilst at its lamb abattoir in Botathan, the water-reuse figure has been in excess of 90%. This soon culminated in Jaspers becoming the first abattoir in the United Kingdom to receive a Certificate of Environmental Benefit for its efficient membrane filtration system.

This certificate has enabled Jaspers to claim 100 percent First-Year Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) on the capital cost of the system. To satisfy the requirements for the certificate, more than 40% of the treated effluent must be reused for applications such as wash-down of animal sheds and agricultural vehicles.

To round off a highly successful year, Jaspers also won the Best Managed Large Business at the Cornwall Sustainability Awards – and scooped the overall winner award. The family-owned business was recognised for the exceptional lengths it has gone to in reducing water consumption and carbon emissions.

“Compared to our previous operation of disposing wastewater to land, we’re now making a net saving of around £90,000 per annum, which is a phenomenal feat,” said Jasper’s Financial Controller, Michael Armstrong.

“The combination of operational cost savings and the ECA allowances has also reduced the payback period to less than five years”, he said.

Working in close consultation with Jaspers, Eimco Water Technologies selected their membrane bioreactor (MBR) system to treat the low-flow high-strength wastewater stream at the Treburley and Botathan sites. Designed, constructed, installed and commissioned by Eimco Water Technologies (formerly Copa Ltd), the simple, low cost, low maintenance MBR system, incorporating Kubota’s flat sheet membrane panels, provided Jaspers with an almost immediate cost effective solution to the treatment of their effluent.

The final effluent quality from the plant has far exceeded original expectations with the BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand), TSS (Total Suspended Solids) and NH4N (Ammonia) concentrations all less than 10mg/l and often less than the limits of laboratory detection.

The influent wastewater is screened by a 3mm perforated plate automatic screen. From the screen the wastewater enters the MBR treatment tank where the mixed liquor activated sludge degrades the COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand). The MBR treatment tank contains flat-sheet membrane panels, which separate the treated effluent from the mixed liquor activated sludge. The membranes also remove bacteria and viruses from the treated water. Due to the high influent COD load, the MBR treatment tank incorporates a fine bubble diffuser air zone to ensure that oxygen is transferred efficiently to the mixed liquor activated sludge. The treated effluent from the MBR plant is stored prior to reuse. The high quality permeate that is not reused is discharged to a local watercourse.

“A very important investment”

Director, David Jasper, added: “From gate to plate, we strive to be the foremost independent procurer and supplier of the finest Cornish and West Country Beef and Lamb, so it is vital that we have the right systems in place across all aspects of our business. We are proud of our water reuse and see it as a very important investment”.

‘Relief to Financial Directors’

The Chancellor of the Exchequer encourages industry to reuse water through a 100 per cent capital allowance scheme (ECA). This Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) scheme offers relief to Financial Directors who are facing capital expenditure for their wastewater treatment requirements.

Under the scheme, capital expenditure on membrane filtration systems that produce a “disinfected” final effluent (suitable for water reuse) can qualify for 100% per cent first-year capital allowance, providing they meet certain criteria.

A key component of the criteria for efficient membrane filtration systems is that the system must allow for 40 per cent of the treated effluent to be reused on site.

ECA allows companies to bring forward the application of tax relief on qualifying investments, and to write off the full cost in the first year spending occurred. Companies enjoy significant savings in OPEX (water saving) as well as a cash flow boost.

David Jasper concluded: “Introducing water reuse is definitely saving us money, but it also improves the environment and can lead us to better business opportunities”.
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