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Symbiont Partners with Generac and Wolter

Symbiont Partners with Generac and Wolter


Symbiont Partners with Generac and Wolter Power Systems for a Dairy Processing Plant Wastewater Treatment Facility

Businesses that operate wastewater treatment systems deal with considerable variability in the volume and content of wastewater generated during operations. At the same time, the treated effluent, which is frequently discharged to streams, lakes and other bodies of water, must consistently meet appropriate limits to protect fragile eco-systems. When power failures occur due to weather or other events, the consequences could be significant for both the environment and the business operating the wastewater treatment facility.

Symbiont is a full-service engineering and consulting firm based in Milwaukee, WI that plans, builds, controls and improves environments for a variety of businesses and municipalities. Symbiont specializes in developing and installing wastewater treatment systems for food and beverage companies, which often use microorganisms to degrade and decompose organic materials during the wastewater treatment process.

“Should the process equipment be down for an extended period of time due to a power outage, our customers could experience financial set-backs due to a period of reduced production, potential fines for violating permit limits, and/or potential compromises to the performance of the biological treatment systems. We use stand-by generators to help prevent these problems from developing during a power outage,” said Caramy Reisenauer, electrical engineer for Symbiont.

Symbiont was introduced to Generac by Wolter Power Systems, a provider of engines and generators based in Brookfield, WI, and an authorized Generac Industrial Power Distributor since 1998. “One of our team members contacted Symbiont and offered to conduct the Generac Professional Development Seminar Series (PDSS), so they would better understand how to properly size a generator, the codes for emergency backup generator systems, and the benefits that paralleling systems can provide,” said Frank Kiffin-Bruce, Generator Sales Engineer and Consultant at Wolter Power Systems. “We also worked with Generac to tailor some presentations specifically for wastewater treatment systems.” (See the article about the Top 10 design considerations for wastewater treatment plants.)

When Symbiont was asked to design and build a wastewater treatment facility for a Wisconsin dairy products customer, WPS helped them determine the proper generator configuration through Generac’s Power Design Pro™ software. “The program is very intuitive but also sophisticated, as it accounts for inrush currents on the motors, upsizing the alternator to handle harmonics induced by VFDs, lighting and other building loads, instruments, and our control panel--allowing us to keep our PLC working so that we could control certain process equipment during a power outage,” noted Reisenauer. “Other sizing tools that we’ve used in the past were not nearly as comprehensive,” she added.

Using the specifications provided by the Power Design Pro software, Symbiont competitively bid the project and ultimately selected Generac.  The system included a UL2200, NFPA 110 level 1 compliant SD300 diesel generator, rated at 1800 rpm, with a 10.3 liter, turbocharged Tier 2 EPA certified engine and a 400 kW upsized alternator. It also featured a standard weather-proof enclosure, 693 gallon base tank and 600 amp, delayed transition, 3-pole automatic transfer switch in a NEMA 1 enclosure.

“We selected Generac for the project because their cost was very competitive and they were the only manufacturer who offered a turn-key generator package which included permitting fees, diesel tank inspection, and sole-source commissioning of the genset and transfer switch.  We also had a short schedule and they committed to meet our deadlines. Generac came in on schedule and within budget,” she added.  

While the facility has not yet experienced a power outage, the generator was operated during a planned outage to replace a service transformer in January. “Despite the harsh winter conditions, the generator started and ran without any issues and minimal interruption to the process,” said Reisenauer. “We look forward to future opportunities with Wolter Power Systems and Generac.”