Alternative Technologies to Improve the Economics....
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GRANT NUMBER:  NA46FD0331           NMFS NUMBER:   93-NER-006

REPORT TITLE: Alternative Technologies to Improve the Economics of Treating Clam Processing Waste Water

AUTHOR:  Kuenster, Susan; New England Fisheries Development Foundation

PUBLISH DATE:  September 1996

AVAILABLE FROM: National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Region, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.  PHONE: (978) 281-9256


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The segment of the seafood industry most severely impacted by implementation of the Clean Water Act of 1972 has been clam processing.  In many cases, municipal treatment facilities have required clam processing plants to decrease the organic load of their effluent and/or have substantially increased the cost of treatment.  This project investigated novel methodologies for treating waste water, in an attempt to help clam processors decrease their dependence on municipal treatment facilities while potentially profiting from the sale of the end-products of treatment. Three alternative technologies for treating waste water were tested; chitosan flocculation, fermentation and ultrafiltration. These methodologies were chosen because investigators believed that they were capable of decreasing the organic load of clam processing effluent, and because they all produced potentially marketable products by which the industry could profit.  In all respects, ultrafiltration was superior to both the other alternative technologies examined, and to standard biological treatment.  All three alternative methodologies reduced organic load, however, ultrafiltration resulted in the greatest reduction. The final product of ultrafiltration proved to be more marketable than the products of chitosan flocculation or fermentation. And finally, capital expenses, operating costs and the payback period for ultrafiltration were significantly less than for either standard biological treatment or the other alternative technologies tested.  Project investigators believe that the use of ultrafiltration for selected waste water streams, such as post-grind wash water, can divert the majority of a clam plant's "pollution" into a profitable flavor product.  In many cases, the organic load remaining in the untreated streams will be acceptable to many municipal sewage treatment systems. 

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