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Poultry Processing Wastewater Treatment System Process Description

Poultry processing plants, as in many other food processing activities typically are high water users. For broilers, 5 to 10 gallons of water are used to process one 5 pound, average-sized chicken. When processing turkey the volume of water is even higher with average weight of slaughtered turkeys exceeding 4 times that of a chicken. It is not unusual for a typical poultry processor to generate 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 gallons of wastewater daily.

This water will be laden with fats, proteins and carbohydrates from meat, fat, blood, skin and feathers. The water is also polluted with a fair amount of grit and other inorganic matter. Waste load can be determined by a number of different measurements, including BOD (biochemical oxygen demand), TSS (total suspended solids concentration), COD (the chemical oxygen demand), and FOG (fats, oil and grease), but poultry plant wastewater is most often tested for BOD ­which is a measure of the amount of oxygen needed to degrade the organic matter (feathers, fat and blood) in the wastewater.

Poultry processing plants are required to remove the majority of all soluble and particulate organic material in their generated wastewater prior to any discharge from the plant. This process needs to take place in order for the plant to be in compliance with local, state and federal environmental regulations.

Hydro-Flo Technologies custom configures a full treatment system that can screen and treat the wastewater to discharge levels that meet or often exceed local municipal requirements. Please review further our current offerings for the poultry industry and contact us today to learn more about solutions we can offer your business.

The typical method to treat Deli Meats Processing wastewater is as follows:

Stage 1 Emulsion Cracking/pH Adjustment:
pH is lowered to ~3.5 with the pH controller using acid. A coagulant de-emulsifier is added to break any emulsion.

Stage 2 pH Adjustment/Precipitation and Coagulation:
pH is adjusted to ~8.5 using caustic and a coagulant is added such as Alum or PAC to cause further de-emulsification and precipitation of the solids. A “pin floc” is developed indicating the emulsion and the suspended solids are precipitated.

Stage 2 - Flash Mix:
The wastewater with it’s precipitated pin floc is introduced to the flash mix zone where a polymer flocculent is added. This stage maximizes flocculent dispersion throughout the coagulated wastewater.

Stage 3 - Flocculation:
The wastewater is now introduced to the slow mix zone to agglomerate the floc into larger particles suitable to be enmeshed with the air bubbles.

Clarifier, Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF):
The flocculated wastewater is introduced into the DAF inlet where the floc particles are comingled with a pressurized dissolved fine bubble recycle stream. The floc particles attach to the bubbles and float to the surface where they are mechanically skimmed into the float scum sludge chamber. The clarified treated water then exits the end of the DAF and flows downstream to sewer or further treatment if necessary. The DAF system bubbles come from a Recycle Air Dissolving system that takes a portion of treated effluent, pressurizes it and introduces air to be dissolved. The dissolved air comes out of solution and forms a fine bubble stream when the pressure is released at the DAF entrance in the presence of floc wastewater.

DAF Sludge Handling:
The resulting DAF waste scum/sludge is removed from the DAF automatically as the scum accumulates and is pumped to the sludge holding tank where it further thickens and accumulates a batch for disposal or processing in a filter press. The sludge is mixed and conditioned with a filter aid such as DE to improve porosity and filterability.

Sludge Dewatering:
The thickened DAF scum/sludge is allowed to accumulate sufficiently to provide a full batch for the Filter Press. First a precoat slurry is circulated thru the filter press to coat the cloths with DE to prevent blinding of the cloth and aid in easy cake removal. The filter press is then pumped with sludge until it is full. The press is emptied of the “cake” which is a semi solid of approximately 20-35 % solids. Sludge cake is high in fats and greases and solids and should be disposed of according to environmental regulations.


  • Processed poultry products
  • package deli meats, chicken and turkey.