By Ray Robin
Henderson, Louisiana is located directly in the center of what is commonly considered ‘Cajun Country.’ Right next door to Breaux Bridge, the town that is known as ‘The Crawfish Capital of the World’; our claim to fame is dealing with the crowds and traffic of that festival every spring. But, Henderson is just fine with that situation, just being the ‘bedroom community’ of our more frivolous neighbor.
Several years ago we updated our town’s wastewater treatment system to a 100,000 GPD SBR, a nice size plant for our town to grow into. Our average BOD influent load is about 250 to 300 mg/l. Most of our customers are residential, and all of them exhibit the common traits of in-home chefs that we are known for in this part of the country. While etouffes, jambalayas, boudin and other Creole and Cajun pork, beef, seafood and fowl dishes are delicacies to most – these are everyday fare for us – and they all provide ample grease and BOD for our sewage system.
In the summer of 2011, at the Louisiana Rural Water Association (LRWA) meeting, I came across a product that promised to cut my sludge hauling costs to the point that it might actually provide a return on investment. At that time we were contracting for hauling a 20 cubic yard trailer load of sludge once a month for disposal. Dewatering chemicals, hauling and tipping fees for this monthly process was $1000 per load, or $1000 per month. I thought it would be worth the time to see if the product I was introduced to at the LRWA might help reduce our Operating costs.