Chilli Peppers

February 22, 2000

Some plants and factories pay a municipal sewer surcharge based on the quantity of suspended solids in the wastewater from the plant. We have worked with food processors, plastic recyclers and even a paper recycle mill that operate on this basis.

Usually these plants filter their wastewater with conventional devises such as either static (sidehill) screens or rotary drum screens (internal and external feed). Adding a Fiber Filter to remove further solids from the filtrate from these screens can have a quick payback.

One successful operation is at Gilroy Foods in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This ConAgra plant processes and dries chili peppers in order to produce powder and flakes used as food flavoring ingredients. Both red and green chili peppers are processed during a harvesting season that runs from July into November.

The typical wastewater flow is 200 gpm, well within the range of a Model FF-12 Fiber Filter. The inbound suspended solids will range from negligible to 1% or 2%. During the most recent season use of a Fiber Filter cut in half the total suspended solids measured by the city. This success as resulted in a commitment to rent another Fiber Filter during the next harvest.

The sludge from the Fiber Filter is trucked, along with static screen tailings and other solid waste, to landfill. (If a screw press were being used on solid waste, the Fiber Filter sludge would be fed to such a press.)

It is notable that this plant also rents a Model KP-10 press each year. It is used to dewater skins from blanched green peppers. This raw material is obtained from nearby green pepper canners. The press cake is dried to produce powder that is used to blend color and taste into the red chili peppers.

Issue 102