The Use of Membrane Filtration as an Alternative Pre-treatment Method for Poultry Processing Wastewater

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Abboah-Afari, Ebenezer
Kiepper, Brian H.
Carroll, G. Denise
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In 2009 Georgia’s poultry industry, the nation’s largest, processed 1.3 billion chickens utilizing 26L (7 gallons) of potable water per bird and generating >9 billion gallons of high-strength poultry processing wastewater (PPW). Many processing plants in Georgia are classified as ‘indirect dischargers’ in that the PPW they produce is pre-treated on-site prior to discharge to a local municipal sewerage collection system. As indirect dischargers, these poultry processors are subject to both regulatory permit limits as well as surcharge fees set by local environmental authorities to recover added costs associated with the treatment of higher strength waste streams. Currently, most poultry processors use a combination of mechanical screens followed by dissolved air flotation (DAF) to pre-treat their PPW. Although DAF is effective, the aggressive aeration of the fine PPW particulates causes excessive oxidative damage and bacterial degradation of fat and protein components of the recovered by-product. Research within the Biological & Agricultural Engineering Department at the University of Georgia is exploring the use of membrane filtration in the pre-treatment of PPW as an enhancement or replacement for DAF. Preliminary experiments utilizing membranes within the microfiltration (0.1-10μm) and ultrafiltration (0.01-0.1μm) ranges that use a semi-permeable surface under pressure to separate colloids and high molecular weight materials in solution have been tested on PPW. Three (3) membranes sizes/materials (0.30μm PVDF, 0.10μm Polysulfone, and 0.05μm Ultrafilic) that were tested at 2 operating pressures (50 psi, 80 psi) on PPW pre-sieved to 106μm. Results showed that the 0.30μm PVDF membrane was the most effective, producing a maximum permeate flux of 32.8 Gm2h at 50 psi while achieving COD and TS removal rates of 90% and 35%, respectively.
Sponsored by: Georgia Environmental Protection Division U.S. Geological Survey, Georgia Water Science Center U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Water Resources Institute The University of Georgia, Water Resources Faculty
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