Environmentally Sustainable Waste/Wastewater Treatment System Using Memthane® (AnMBR)


The Challenge

Jack Link’s, a leading protein snack producer, was in need of a water treatment solution at its facility in Alpena, South Dakota. Jack Link’s previous wastewater treatment system consisted of a Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) system for FOG (Fats, Oils, & Grease) and TSS reduction. Effluent from the system was discharged directly to the sewer system, and the city municipal treatment plant was becoming overloaded as a result of the facility’s production increases and high BOD loads.

The Solution

Veolia Water Technologies partnered with Jack Link’s to develop a process that would solve the facility’s high BOD discharge issue, while simultaneously creating biogas as a byproduct to reduce the plant’s energy costs.

Veolia’s treatment process utilizes Memthane® Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) technology combined with a SulfothaneTM Biogas Desulfurization System. 

Memthane pairs anaerobic biological treatment with ultrafiltration (UF) membranes to create an industry-leading anaerobic membrane bioreactor system. The bioreactor converts the plant’s waste into a methane-rich biogas, while UF membranes create a high-quality effluent that is discharged into the municipal sewer system.

Biogas from the Memthane system is then treated by Veolia’s Sulfothane system. This treatment step removes sulfur compounds from the biogas, which are highly corrosive and can damage downstream equipment. The scrubbed biogas is then sent to a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Generator to create electricity onsite and offset energy costs. 

The Result

The Memthane and Sulfothane systems have exceeded performance and client expectations. Final permeate discharge from the Memthane system averaged less than 100 ppm BOD for greater than 98% BOD removal rates. Membrane operation during the first 24 months of operation was stable with flux rates ranging from 9 to 18 lmh. 

The Sulfothane system was able reduce the biogas’s H2S levels from 6,000-8,500 ppm to less than 10 ppm, which is well below the generator’s manufacturer specifications. 

Due to sustained process stability and consistent high quality effluent, the city treatment plant operation has improved greatly. 

Energy Positive Waste/Wastewater Treatment Plant

The system is not only energy efficient, it is energy positive when operating at full flow. At this time, the biogas byproduct produced in the anaerobic reactor generates more electricity than the system consumes. The result is a fast return on investment for the capital purchase.