The requirements to treat its non-toxic but strong organic waste-water prompted Bacardi Corp. to explore numerous methods of treatment. Anaerobic biological treatment using a novel downflow filter process was developed and tested in 3000 gal pilot units. The operation of this pilot unit and the results obtained are described. Since the trials were satisfactory, a 3.5 m gal full-scale plant, whose design is described, was constructed and started operation in 1982. The development of the seed necessary for the startup of the plant is presented. The influent and effluent concentrations of COD, BOD, TSS, and other operating parameters, such as hydraulic retention times and gas production data are discussed. The economics of the process are considered. At the moment the system is supplying approx. 40% of the distillery's steam requirements.
Keywords: anaerobic effluent treatment methane fermentation rum spirits production