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European link for waste water plant at Evans & Tate

WINEMAKER Evans & Tate has commissioned WA’s first winery-based waste water treatment plant, conceived, designed and built by local firm Environmental Solutions International Limited (ESI).

The $1.1 million plant, which uses the biological nutrient removal process, can deal with: winery waste water in high concentrates; organic wastes (the organic acids and sugars in grape juice and nutrients such as organically bound phosphorous); phosphates; and organic nitrogen in the form of proteins, nitrates and ammonia.

During the picking season, production of waste water increases by up to 10 times to 1,000 litres per tonne of grapes. Untreated waste water is normally irrigated onto wood lots, but Evans & Tate executive chairman Franklin Tate believes this is not sustainable and could lead to unacceptable ground water contamination. The new treatment plant is expected to enable the winery to double its wine production while using the same amount of water. The previous waste water facility was not able to cope with the increase in production and could no longer meet Department of Environment Protection licence requirements.

The waste water is processed into a sludge cake that can be used around the vineyard as a slow release organic fertiliser, while the water is pumped to an irrigation soak where it is mixed with extracted ground water and used to irrigate the vineyard.

ESI this week announced that it had successfully struck an exclusive licensing agreement for its oil-from-sludge Enersludge technology with water management company Ondeo-Degremont.

Ondeo-Degremont now has the exclusive rights to use the WA technology in projects in France and elsewhere, on a project-by-project basis. It gives the WA-based public company considerable leverage into the European market through a company with a workforce of 3,000 and revenue of 868 million euro in 2001. ESI will receive a licence fee and technology fees and royalties on future plants constructed.

“This agreement is an important step forward for ESI as it will give Enersludge a significant presence in the important French market,” ESI managing director Denis Glennon said.

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