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Every year, the green and leafy town of Vimmerby in southern Sweden hosts thousands of Astrid Lindgren fans paying tribute to the author’s popular Pippi Longstocking and other children’s characters. Lindgren’s birthplace is also one of the country’s most enterprising regions, where diverse industries dot the landscape.
One of the largest industries is Arla Foods, with its high-tech Vimmerby plant, processing an average of 1.5 million kilograms of milk daily. More than 13,500 farmers in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK own the Arla milk cooperative.
In 2012, Arla Foods planned to expand its Vimmerby production to meet a growing demand, but the resulting wastewater presented a problem. The municipality’s wastewater treatment plant was already running at full capacity and was only able to treat 1000 m3 of the estimated 1400 m3 per day coming from the extended dairy. Expanding the plant to meet Arla Foods’ needs would take an estimated 3-4 years.
Arla Foods could not wait for this. Grundfos BioBooster was therefore entrusted to deliver an onsite wastewater treatment plant, enabling Arla Foods, Vimmerby to treat the additional 400 m3 per day.
A contract for the Grundfos BioBooster solution was signed in November 2012 and the plant was up and running by May 2013. Site work at the plant was less than two months, ensuring minimal disruption to Arla Foods’ operation.
The Grundfos solution
Grundfos built and tested the modular BioBooster system in Denmark and then installed it on the Vimmerby site, where Arla Foods had prepared the concrete foundation in accordance with blueprints from Grundfos. Once the modules were delivered, it took just a few days to set up.
The Grundfos BioBooster treatment plant was built to handle 400 m3 of wastewater daily or in practice almost 50% of the milk processing plant’s total wastewater flow. This next generation wastewater solution meets the strict requirements for removal of nitrogen and phosphorous in Sweden, and the treated water is discharged to the local river.
Removal efficiency is extremely high for chemical oxygen demand (COD), nitrogen and phosphorous, and the levels are under the discharge limits set for wastewater by the municipality. The treated water is released into the local river. The capacity of the Grundfos BioBooster unit at Arla Foods equals a wastewater treatment plant for 18,000 people.
Grundfos and Arla Foods have previously worked together on water treatment projects. Arla Foods works to high environmental standards and is willing to support innovative new solutions, such as those developed by Grundfos BioBooster.
“We sent them our requirements regarding the purity of the discharged water and they said ‘no problem’. One advantage of having our own decentralised treatment plant is the cost. It is almost half the price of treating water in the municipality’s treatment plant so that justifies this installation. I can strongly recommend the Grundfos BioBooster – the plant technology is very advanced, but still easy to operate,” says Pär Bragsjö, Facility Manager, Arla Foods
Grundfos has been working on the technology behind BioBooster for close to 15 years. This decentralised wastewater system reduces water consumption and helps increase environmental sustainability. Because it is a scalable system, it can be adapted to changing wastewater treatment needs. The system is highly suited to customers in the food and beverage industries, hospitals and municipal wastewater treatment plants, among others.
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