Winery wastewater characteristics vary greatly, largely depending on their activity, production process and type of production, but also on the time of year. This represents a major restriction in terms of the choice of the most suitable treatment system for wine effluent management at each winery.

In other areas, such as in the case of domestic waste or small agro-food industries, new natural technologies are currently being implemented for wastewater treatment, obtaining interesting results in relation to process efficiency, construction and operation costs, as well as being more responsive systems from an environmental point of view. This makes them interesting alternatives to other conventional wastewater treatment technologies commonly used in wineries, such as activated sludge systems.

The WETWINE project has adapted these systems to the specific characteristics of the wine effluents from wineries in the Sudoe area. It has therefore developed a system based on natural constructed wetland technology, for both wastewater and sludge treatment. The WETWINE system allows recovery of both sludge for use as fertilizer, and wastewater for reuse in irrigation.

The WETWINE system has been validated in a pilot demonstration plant located in the Santiago Ruiz Winery, in Pontevedra, Spain, which has provided interesting results in terms of design and operation in a real environment.

The WETWINE system basically combines an anaerobic pretreatment unit (HUSB reactor) and a series of subsurface flow artificial wetlands for the treatment of water and sludge.

Water treatment

In the first pre-treatment phase in the HUSB reactor, the wastewater solids are retained and hydrolyzed with 70-80% efficiency. The resulting water then circulates through a series of vertical and horizontal wetlands planted with reeds where the wastewater is treated through various biological processes to obtain an effluent with analytical parameters suitable for discharge or even use for irrigation.

Sludge Treatment

At the same time, the solids retained in the HUSB reactor are treated in sludge wetlands where, by means of physical (drying) and biological (mineralization) processes, a significant reduction in the volume of sludge occurs, eliminating possible pathogenic organisms, and stabilizing the sludge for the formulation of a fertilizer to be used in the vineyard.

 

As a result of the validation process of the pilot plant operation, as well as the field work carried out in the 12 wine regions in the Sudoe area that actively participate in the implementation of the project, extensive information and useful results have been obtained to optimize the WETWINE system. However, in the case of each individual winery, it will be necessary to adapt the strategy, design and operating parameters to their specific characteristics.

This web tool thus allows the WETWINE system to be tailored to the specific situation of each process, achieving an approach to the optimal configuration of the WETWINE system.