Increasing demands placed on processing facilities are many, but wastewater remains a battle as new regulations and challenges impact facilities every year. In particular, processors are seeing a general tightening of effluent limits, especially nitrogen and phosphorous, which presents challenges to facilities that discharge directly into water bodies as states address water-quality concerns and Total Daily Maximum Load (TMDL) limits. As regulatory limits for these constituents are reduced, treatment becomes more difficult and costly.
Additionally, the biosolids produced from biological wastewater-treatment systems have traditionally been land-applied for their fertilizer and organic matter value. However, with increasing emphasis on nutrient management, i.e. phosphorous soil levels, winter application restrictions, setbacks and buffers, it is becoming more difficult to land-apply in certain watersheds, such as the Chesapeake Bay area, says Jeff Smith, director of corporate environmental services for Perdue Farms.