The Dannon Company Pretreatment Facility

The Dannon Company  |  West Jordan, Utah


Project Overview

Using an accelerated progressive design-build approach, MWH Constructors developed a new wastewater pretreatment system for the Dannon Company to use after just six months of design and construction. Despite a series of challenges including permitting restraints, weather constraints and environmental challenges, the new facility began operation on March 14, 2011 – one day before its required startup date.

This project was initiated to increase yogurt production after a substantial growth in sales with the success of the company’s Activia® and other lines of yogurt products. The new facility was designed to pre-treat the plant’s wastewater prior to being discharged to the local municipality and enable Dannon to double yogurt production, with further expansion capabilities built-in. MWH Constructors was hired to design and constructed the new facility on an accelerated timeline, with startup occurring a mere six months after construction initiation.



Project Scope

Prior to construction, MWH Constructors prepared the preliminary engineering of the facility and identified the right design-build components to expedite the design, construction and operations of the wastewater pretreatment facility. The primary treatment process selected was a moving bed bioreactor (MBBR) combined with dissolved air flotation (DAF), which includes the pretreatment facility, odor control facilities, pumping, tanks, treatment and storage. The MBBR process was selected because it reduces the volume of biological reactor basins required as compared to conventional treatment systems. By using plastic biological carriers, MBBR systems increase the total biological component of the reactor, which is also helpful when dealing with high strength wastewater, such as that produced by yogurt manufacturing. Overall, the system required less space and fewer controls than other biological systems, while meeting discharge requirements and handling a flow of several hundred thousand gallons per day.

Project Challenge

Project challenges naturally arose, many of which threatened to derail the established six-month timeline. The first challenge was permitting, which tends to be a long process under normal circumstances, let alone under a tight time frame. MWH Constructors worked closely with city officials, obtaining permits on a provisional basis, as the design work became available. Utah’s winter weather conditions also posed a challenge. Just after construction started, temperatures at the site plunged to daytime highs of 5°F, and snowfall was a regular concern. Accordingly, the design-build plan called for completing the foundations and building shells as quickly as possible to provide a space that could be heated. The Dannon facility also happened to be located near a drinking water well, thus prompting additional action to be taken to address any environmental concerns. MWH Constructors protected the water source with enhanced storm water containment and berms around the site.

Project Solution / Result

• DannonThe collective team of construction, structural, mechanical and electrical professionals worked in a small, onsite construction office to deliver the finished project on time and under budget. Together they were able to identify several methods of construction that helped save Dannon time and money during the six- month project period. The design team was fully engaged in the entire construction process, allowing for quick decisions on any proposed changes and design modifications. The construction team typically would plan out work several days ahead to identify potential issues, giving the design team enough time to provide a rapid response to the issues identified and to reissue drawings incorporating any modifications.

The project required startup by March 15, 2011. Thanks to an accelerated design-build delivery method, the pretreatment facility began receiving water one day before the deadline.

Months to complete accelerated project

Dannon production capacity, measured in tons, nearly doubled after completion