Manaf Farhan (1); (1) EMG International, LLC., Media, PA, U.S.A.


The craft brewing industry has enjoyed sustained robust growth over the past decade. With the growth in production there has been a corresponding increase in resulting wastewater and the associated financial and regulatory burdens. Wastewater treatment for this industry is now a necessary part of brewery operations for which brewers are seeking more reliable and cost-effective solutions. The most common biological wastewater treatment system is based on the conventional activated sludge (CAS) process. Although CAS processes are reliable, they generate significant waste sludge and carry high operating and maintenance (O&M) costs. The emerging application of high-rate anaerobic digestion (AD) technology for treating brewery wastewater offers lower sludge generation and related O&M costs, renewable energy generation, and reduced carbon footprint. This paper evaluates CAS and high-rate AD technologies for brewery wastewater treatment by providing process descriptions and comparing efficiency, reliability, and O&M costs. A detailed description of the biological process and typical system components for CAS and AD technology is provided. This paper also provides a comparison of process reliability, removal efficiency, recovery from cleaning chemicals and overloading conditions. In addition, this paper outlines operational costs, including sludge disposal, chemical usage, supplemental nutrient requirements, and electricity consumption for CAS and AD systems.

Manaf H. Farhan is the president and CEO of EMG International, based in Media, PA. He holds a B.S. degree in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Columbia University, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in systems engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a licensed professional engineer. His doctoral research focused on design and optimization of various anaerobic digester processes to maximize process efficiency and biogas production. He has authored several peer-reviewed articles on anaerobic digestion and has served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He has over 20 years of experience providing a wide range of environmental engineering design and consulting services to private industry and governmental clients. His professional experience includes design and construction of digester systems for wastewater treatment and biogas and electricity generation for food and beverage facilities and for dairy farms; technical evaluation, process modifications, and operational support for various full-scale anaerobic digester installations; development and testing of bench-scale and pilot-scale wastewater treatment systems; pollution prevention and wastewater minimization audits; and biogas collection, clean-up, and utilization.