Case studies Publication Date 29 October 2021 Published 29 Oct 2021
Water Energy Purchase Agreements (WEPA): Rombauer Vineyards
Cambrian Innovation developed the WEPA to enable food and beverage manufacturers across the United States to implement their solutions to remove wastewater costs, reduce environmental impact, and alleviate capped production at no upfront cost or operational risk.
Wineries in Nappa Valley, including Rombauer Vineyards, produced high-strength wastewater (diluted wine) through standard rinsing and cleaning processes putting pressure on traditional municipal treatment plants.
In 2018, Rombauer Vineyards was the first replaced existing ineffective treatment system with an EcoVolt Solution from Cambrian Innovation.
- Wastewater treatment service user: Rombauer Vineyards
- Wastewater treatment service provider: Cambrian Innovations
- Local municipality: East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD)
- In 2009, Rombauer Vineyards installed an aerobic wastewater treatment system to manage high-strength wastewater stream. However, by 2017, this system was unable to accommodate the high-volume particular during harvest season at the winery.
- The capacity limitation forced the winery to hold and haul excess wastewater to the East Bay Municipal Utility District which had high financial, operational, and environmental costs for Rombauer Vineyards.
- Cambrian created WEPA which is an accessible, service-based wastewater-to- resources solution. Cambrian maintains asset ownership, management and compliance cost of the wastewater plant. Benefits include:
- Removing an upfront capital investment to allow cost savings from treatment solution while freeing up capital for other investments focused on business growth.
- Securing long-term, predictable, fixed costs, to reduce vulnerability to utility market volatility such as price escalation.
- Divesting operational and compliance risk to safeguard long-term operational security while ensuring internal resources are focused core business functions.
- Cambrian only charges on a per-gallon basis when the system turned on and provides clean energy and water back to the facility at a lower utility rate.
Results and impact
- EcoVolt Solution enabled Rombauer to economically manage its wastewater: The two-step process removed 99% of the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the winery’s wastewater. This resulted in highly-treated effluent which reduced the environmental impact and cost of discharge to the local municipality.
- The wastewater treatment solution treats 100% of the winery’s wastewater and allows for expansion through the addition of more EcoVolt modules to accommodate any increases in wine production.
- The EcoVolt Solution supported Rombauer Vineyards to realise key environmental and operational goals: By eliminating the need for trucking and the burden of treatment on public infrastructure,
Rombauer was able to reduce its carbon footprint by 4,150 metric tons of CO2 offset annually with uninterrupted sewer discharge compliance and significant savings.
Key lessons learnt
- Adopting the “everything-as-a-service” (XaaS) model and replicating across industries to the infrastructure-as-a-service approach in water and wastewater enabled Cambrian to standardise its disruptive approach to wastewater infrastructure and provide a creative financing platform that increase the financial viability of sustainable waste-to-resources projects.