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Challenge / Goal

Elgin is a city in northeastern Scotland, situated on the River Lossie. It is widely recognised for its prominent whisky distilling industry. Due its relentless production, distilleries and the city council must ensure a quality discharge wastewater. Distillery wastewater and its toxicity is a serious concern in Scotland.  

Distilleries face logistical and financial challenges associated with the processing and treatment of distillery co-products to ensure compliance with discharge consent parameters. SEM’s challenge was to demonstrate understanding of the complex chemistry involved, and that our technology could successfully process the distillery spent lees and washing waters (SL&WW) to reduce the copper and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) to within standard compliance levels.


A nine day on-line was conducted using our custom-built treatment technology to process the SL&WW live from the distillery process. The SEM unit was installed at the distillery and processing began within the same shift. The integration of the unit with the existing distillery process resulted in no impact on operations due to its minimal footprint and simple interface requirements.

The copper and COD concentrations pre and post treatment were monitored on a continual basis in order to control the most efficient chemical additions and ensure consistent performance of the treatment system.

A total of 570 litres (0.57m3) of chemicals were used to process the 268.25m3 of SL&WW. Verification samples were sent back to the SEM laboratory in Colpy, Aberdeenshire and a third party UKAS accredited laboratory for further analysis.


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Time period

Planning time: 6 months to 1 year

Implementation time: Less than 6 months

End users

Glen Moray Distillery

    Main benefits

  • Resource Adequacy

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