The De Pere firm is a leader among pulp manufacturers in turning post-consumer wastepaper into high-quality pulp for environmentally conscious companies. The on-site anaerobic digesting system creates cleaner industrial wastewater while having a positive financial impact.
“Our customers are interested in sharing our environmental sustainability message with their customers,” said Ted Heimerman, Vice President of Sales. “We’re seeing increased demand for our product based on our reputation for cleanliness and high-quality recycled fiber.”
The system features a large treatment tower and three storage tanks. The system processes approximately 1 million gallons of wastewater per day, with the capability of reaching a peak of 1.2 million gallons per day. Company engineers, working with equipment supplier Voith, broke ground on the project in June.
One of the tanks pre-conditions wastewater before it goes into the treatment tower; another removes biological solids and stores them; and a third further conditions the water to remove any additional impurities before it is released to the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District (GBMSD).
A structure on the one-acre site houses the system’s pumps, control systems, an office and lab. The system itself has automated controls, with cameras and other equipment in place to monitor trends and flows. The company plans to sell the recovered biological solids to other anaerobic treatment facilities for use as seed in treatment towers.
“The anaerobic system is the most environmentally friendly option available and requires less energy to operate than alternative methods,” said Chief Executive Officer Greg Archambault.
Bacteria introduced into the system removes organics from the waste stream, leaving cleaner water and methane as byproducts. Fox River Fiber currently burns off the methane in a controlled flare that meets air quality standards. It plans to implement capture capabilities later in 2014 that will generate energy the company can use in its main plant or sell back into the grid.
The system reduces biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) by 70 to 90 percent. BOD is the amount of oxygen required by aerobic organisms to decompose the organic matter found in wastewater. BOD levels directly impact wastewater treatment charges by GBMSD, making up 80 percent of that cost.
Fox River Fiber’s leadership made the decision to invest in their own wastewater pre-treatment facility to offset accelerated cost increases from the GBMSD.
“Effluent expenses have become one of the major costs involved with our operations,”
Fox River Fiber sends its effluent directly to GBMSD’s De Pere treatment facility through a $2 million dedicated main. The company finances the entire cost of the main, which was required because of the higher temperatures of its wastewater stream.
“This system will help us control expenses so we can keep costs stable for our customers,” Archambault said. “We’re sending the municipal system relatively clean, warm water, and we’re looking at ways to recycle more of that water ourselves in the future.”
Tags: post consumer fiber, post-consumer fiber