Although the amount of water to produce a gallon of ethanol has declined, it still requires approximately 3.5 gallons. The location in the Midwest we worked at, needed over 500,000 gallons of water daily to keep up with production.
The two existing wells on-site started to decline in capacity due to poor water quality (elevated iron and manganese concentrations). This made it difficult to meet demand and required them to purchase new equipment regularly due to the water quality issues. They either needed to rehabilitate and restore the capacity at the current wells or, develop a new source to supplement their existing water supply.
Performing work at an ethanol plant requires certain safety requirements to be upheld and this project was no different. Having worked on wells for clients in the ethanol industry before, Municipal Well & Pump was well suited to handle all aspects of this job. So much so, that we were referred by another well driller due to our abilities to meet their safety requirements.
With the two existing wells being located close to each other in the alluvial formation, they could not be rehabilitated without creating issues for each other. That is why Municipal Well & Pump suggested the exploration of a new sandstone well, which would allow the facility to gain extra capacity in a separate aquifer. The installation of a test well was recommended to help define the location for a new well.
Here are the steps we took:
Not only was Municipal Well & Pump able to supplement the existing water supply, the new sandstone well was able to exceed capacity expectations. In fact, the new well supplies enough water to run the entire plant. Coupled with a superior water quality, this allows the ethanol plant to save money by reducing their backwash requirements over 50% and extending the life of RO membranes which previously had to be replaced approximately every six months.