Characterisation of winery wastewater from continuous flow settling basins and waste stabilisation ponds over the course of 1 year: implications for biological wastewater treatment and land application

09 Jun 2017

Wineries generate 0.2 to 4 L of wastewater per litre of wine produced. Many cellars make use of irrigation as a means of disposal, either directly or after storage. In order to consider the potential downstream impacts of storage/no storage, this study critically compared the seasonal organic and inorganic composition of fresh winery effluent with effluent that had been stored in waste stabilisation ponds. Ethanol and short chain volatile fatty acids were the main contributors to chemical oxygen demand (COD), with average concentrations of 2,086 and 882 mgCOD/L, respectively. Total phenolics were typically present in concentrations <100 mg/L. The concentration of sodium from cleaning agents was higher in the non-crush season, while the converse was true for organics. The effluent was nitrogen-deficient for biological treatment, with COD:N ratios of 0.09 to 1.2. There was an accumulation of propionic and butyric acid during storage. The composition of the pond effluent was more stable in character, and it is possible that bacterial and algal nitrogen fixation in such systems may enhance biological wastewater treatment by natural nitrogen supplementation. It is therefore recommended that if land requirements can be met, winery effluent should be stored in ponds prior to treatment.