Custom Wastewater Treatment System

Daou Vineyards and Winery, located in western Paso Robles, is a case winery that has recently undergone an expansion of its production operations. The facility had an existing treatment system that suffered from undersized and various design flaws that caused severe odor issues as well as a lack of adequate treatment ability that left the winery unable to treat their existing waste stream, let alone have the ability to handle the proposed increased production. Daou was seeking a treatment solution that would not only yield the results they expected but would not use up a great deal of their valuable real estate. After considerable due diligence, Daou found and selected ClearBlu Environmental to design and install a package system solution for the winery.

The system was slated to serve their lower processing facility, which included a brand new additional crush pad, and was estimated to yield an overall wastewater production of 10,000 gallons per day at the peak of harvest. This raw effluent would be fed into the completely custom-designed treatment system. During the design process, the winery was able to work closely with the ClearBlu team to ensure that all their desires for a new system were addressed. Many site visits were made, and ClearBlu met with other contractors who were designing the new crush facility to ensure that every detail was tended to.

The final design of the system included a few key components that would ensure the success of the treatment system:

Primary Lift Station

A state-of-the-art duplexing lift station, complete with ruggedized, solids handling pumps, was sized after careful consideration of the projected flows plus with plenty of buffer capacity in case of an emergency situation. The pump redundancy ensures lift station functionality in the event that one pump suffers a critical failure, or if an unexpected slug of volume were to be released into the system the dual pumps are able to keep up and prevent flooding of the lift station.

Solids Separation

A self-cleaning wedgewire hydroscreen was implemented for solids separation. This is a critical component of a waste system for several reasons. Removing solids prevents potential interference with pumps and other system components, and taking out as much organic material upstream from further stages of treatment both saves pH balancing chemicals as well as facilitates more efficient treatment by mechanically removing additional BOD (grape skins, seeds, etc.) from the waste stream. The screen is all stainless steel construction to prevent corrosion. It contains engineered spray bars that run automatically on a seven-day timer to help prevent blinding of the wedgewire and keep the screen working at its highest efficiency.


pH Balancing

A reliable and efficient pH balancing system is perhaps the biggest key to success for any biological treatment system. Without maintaining pH neutrality at all times a biological system cannot have healthy, thriving bacteria to digest the organic material. ClearBlu’s ruggedized system is constructed from stainless steel and utilizes top-of-the-line digital controls to manage the chemical dosing, mixing, and alarming (if desired) of the system.



The actual treatment portion of this system consists of five 12,000-gallon high-density, cross-linked, polyethylene treatment tanks that are each fitted with a spraybar system for foam control. Each tank contains an energy-efficient, surface-mounted microbubble aerator that creates a highly oxygenated environment throughout the entire tank. Neutral pH and high DO levels are a magic combination for happy and productive aerobic bacteria, allowing them to rapidly digest the organic material. This tank system also contains a recirculation pump, allowing the water multiple passes through the system to yield maximum digestion, with the ultimate goal of reducing BOD loading to a level acceptable for water reuse. This tank system also utilizes a custom-designed catwalk to allow access to the aerators mounted atop the tanks.

A high-strength blend of bacillus bacteria is dosed into the system, rapidly increasing the rate of digestion.


Daou’s system went live just before the 2016 harvest season and it processed approximately 260,000 gallons of wastewater. With BOD levels of incoming wastewater reaching 7,000 mg/L, the system handled the loading with ease, producing treated wastewater with a BOD level of just 78 mg/L at the conclusion of harvest. Due to the near complete digestion of BOD, the wastewater is suitable for land application reuse, allowing the facility to cut down on valuable fresh water usage. A series of three storage tanks are positioned after the treatment tanks to enable the holding of treated water until it is needed.