Fast-Growing City in Florida Panhandle Chooses Schwing Bioset Screw Press to Solidify Utility Expansion

Written by Tom Welch

The once-small town of Freeport, nestled in the center of Walton County, just above the Choctawhatchee Bay in the panhandle of Florida, is said to be one of the fastest-growing areas in the state in recent years. And there are good reasons why! It’s situated close to a number of popular Florida beaches, and that’s where people simply love to be. After all, Florida is well known for its tourism, and communities like Freeport benefit from it greatly. A generation ago, when a number of the current residents of Freeport were children, no more than a few hundred people were living within the city limits. Now, that number has grown and continues to grow, into thousands of new residents. They now have over 13,000 residents in the city limits and are expecting growth of another 10,000 in the next five to ten years.

With that kind of exponential growth comes growing pains, which requires upgrading infrastructure such as new roads, and especially ensuring utilities are available for new properties being built. These utilities are expected to be in high demand as an estimated 2000+ homes and apartments are being built in the Freeport area, and multiple businesses are set to be moving in.

Starting in 2019, Dewberry Engineers brought forth a project to expand the existing wastewater plant from 0.6 to 1.5 million gallons per day (MGD), in three phases, all while keeping the existing plant completely operational during construction activities. The project was funded by USDA-Rural Development funds.

Prior to the expansion project in 2019, the plant had an oxidation ditch followed by a secondary clarifier, followed by an aerobic digester. It also received septage on a periodic basis that is aerated and then blended into the oxidation ditch. They had historically used drying beds to dewater their solids, but they had a permit modification to allow liquid sludge to be hauled offsite, which was done about every 40 days on average. At that time, the future plans were to include dewatering equipment, with screw presses being the likely choice.

FSP 703 Mobile Screw Press Rental

Schwing Bioset performed a successful pilot to show the capability of its high-performance screw press equipment. Previously, Freeport had contract dewatering belt presses come in to keep up with the solids in the plant. There had been further discussion about having a portable dewatering unit onsite until the plant upgrade was complete.

So, in the spring of 2020, Schwing Bioset brought in their mobile FSP 703 screw press and trained the Freeport personnel how to operate the equipment, so that the plant could stay compliant with the FDEP disposal regulations for biosolids. One key advantage of using this size of mobile equipment was that not only could the mobile equipment process plant flow, but the new equipment that would be installed in the expansion would be the exact same model as the rental, which would make the transition to dewatering at the new facility seamless.

As the construction project comes to completion in the spring of 2024, the new FSP 703 screw press in the plant’s new dewatering building was started up in April of this year. The press is designed to run between 50-60 gpm at 2.5% solids, which is a throughput of around 750 dry pounds per hour. The cake solids coming off the press are around 19-20% and the dewatered solids are hauled away to Alabama and land applied as a Class B biosolid. The new press is in operation five days a week, between 8-10 hours a day. Hauling dewatered solids at 20% solids has proven to be a significant cost savings compared to hauling 2% liquid solids, which was proven during the rental process, and will continue to benefit the plant into the future.

Check out this video on YouTube to view the dewatered solids.

To learn more about our dewatering equipment, or how Schwing Bioset can help your operation, contact us or explore our website for more information.


New Screw Press

Dewatered Solids














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