Project Title: Water Processing and Cleaning for Reuse

Shamrock Farms logoTeam 15030 Members:
Justine Bacchus, biomedical engineering
Brennen Guy, mechanical engineering
Cory Luke, biomedical engineering
Edward Mackay, engineering management
Nicholas Siegel, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: Shamrock Foods

Triple-filtration process uses natural methods to clear dairy debris

Team 15030; Justine Bacchus and Brennen Guy

Water conservation is a major concern for arid Arizona – and for food-service distributor Shamrock Foods, which supplies fresh dairy products and other comestibles to the Southwest.

The company’s Phoenix location alone averages 500,000 gallons of industrial wastewater per day, and replacing all that water costs almost half a million dollars per year.

Shamrock Foods has enlisted Team 15030 to boost water use efficiency in its distribution centers by recycling wastewater back into production without adding any potentially harmful chemicals.

The team is relying on natural biological processes to filter the water the factory uses to steam-clean and rinse milk containers.

The first step of their reclamation process uses a bioreactor made from a high-powered bubbler and bio-ring filters, like those found in fish tanks, to break down organic waste and pull out large particulates. A reverse-osmosis system then removes smaller pollutants. Finally, the water is pumped through an ultraviolet filtration system, which kills leftover bacteria and leaves clean, serviceable water.

The design returns 70 percent of the wastewater to the factory floor for reuse.

“Getting clean sources of water is a big problem for Southwestern states,” said team member Brennen Guy. “For a company to use recycled water is a huge step.”

The team is currently building a prototype of the system and testing each section separately before assembly. They expect to finish the project by the end of April for presentation to the public on Engineering Design Day on May 3.