Having transformed the former General Motors Delphi plant, Continental Dairy Facilities, LLC (CDF) and fairlife, LLC operate a dairy products plant in Coopersville, MI.
In 2012, Continental Dairy began producing cream condensed milk and nonfat dried milk in Coopersville, MI. Five years later, they are taking in milk from four other dairy cooperatives in 35 different counties and producing over 300,000 pounds of dry nonfat milk per day. This rapid growth has led to multiple plant and production expansions.
In 2013, fairlife joined Continental Dairy Facilities at the Coopersville campus and has also experienced impressive growth. Using a patented cold filtration process, fairlife produces reconstituted milk products with increased protein and calcium levels while decreasing lactose and sugar levels at the same time. Their product line includes milk, energy drinks, flavored milks, and iced coffee beverages.
As production from both facilities has increased, so has the amount of process wastewater generated at the Coopersville campus. As a result, the facility has incurred significant surcharges for exceeding the amount of wastewater the campus is permitted to send to the City of Coopersville Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW).
With the POTW at capacity, the future expansion plans of both production facilities were limited and created an urgent need for an updated wastewater solution that would not only meet the needs of Continental Dairy Facilities and fairlife, but also the City of Coopersville. Finding a feasible solution was imperative to future growth and reducing surcharges from the City. Additionally, there was very little physical space available for upgrades to the existing wastewater pretreatment system.
In order to reduce surcharges and allow for future expansion, CDF (who manages the wastewater system for the joint facility) and their project management firm Select Services LLC reached out to The Probst Group.
After evaluating the system, Probst engineers determined that two (2) 300 square foot dissolved air flotation (DAF) units would present an ideal solution for effectively pretreating the facility’s wastewater. The upgrades would also minimize costs, as Probst designed a solution that would fit within their existing facility.
The DAF units could be operated in parallel, series, or solo mode, based on the flowrates. The physical/chemical treatment process utilized for effective DAF operation is well-suited for dairy wastewater pretreatment and is easy to operate. Skimmings from the DAF (sludge) would be stored in a silo for hauling off-site.
The Probst Group provided a unique solution for this project, providing complete design-build services that allowed the Probst team to leverage our team of suppliers and local contractors to install the new units and required components.
Construction took about 6 months, with most of the time dedicated to equipment fabrication and procurement.
The DAFs were started up in October 2017, and the results were immediate and significant. The DAFs performed so well and took so much biological loading from the system, that the POTW had to request they send more load to help keep the POTW system healthy.
As a result, CDF was able to reduce their chemical use and operating cost to meet the POTW demands, while still avoiding surcharges.
The end result was a huge positive for CDF, reducing their wastewater costs while providing flexibility for future expansion.