Irvine Ranch Water District Selects Muffin Monsters for New Resource Recovery Plant

The new IRWD Biosolids & Energy Recovery Project has 16 Muffin Monsters guarding sludge pumps and centrifuges from damage by large debris. The grease receiving station is in the foreground (credit: Black & Veatch)

Well known for innovative water recycling programs, the Irvine Ranch Water District is building a new biosolids and energy recovery facility at their Michelson Water Recycling Plant in Irvine, California. Design engineers have specified Muffin Monster sludge grinders for several demanding solids reduction applications, including grinders for a new grease receiving station. The biosolids processing facility is being constructed to accept liquid restaurant grease, pump it into the digestion system and turn the grease into biogas and then into clean electricity.

In May, the project contractor – a joint venture of Filanc and Balfour-Beatty – placed an order for 17 in-line Muffin Monster sludge grinders for the new Biosolids and Energy Recovery Facility.

The order includes:

  • 5 ea. – Muffin monster 30001-316 – Stainless Steel – Sludge pump protection
  • 4 ea. – Muffin Monster 30004T – Thickening centrifuge protection
  • 3 ea. – Muffin Monster 30004T – Dewatering centrifuge protection
  • 2 ea. – Muffin Monster 30004T – Grease receiving shredder
  • 2 ea. – Muffin Monster 30004T – Grease circulation pump protection
  • 1 ea. – Muffin Monster 30004T – Emergency standby grinder

“Irvine Ranch Water District is known for innovative water management, so we’re proud to be part of this project – it represents the cutting edge in recovering resources from sewage,” said Scott Kelly, VP of Sales and Marketing for JWCE. “Reusing restaurant grease to produce energy is a win-win for the environment and for local residents, which includes several JWCE employees.”

The grinders will be built at the sprawling Muffin Monster factory in Santa Ana, California – just a few miles up the freeway from IRWD’s new biosolids facility. JWCE employs about 100 people on two shifts at the factory, further proof that water infrastructure improvements create jobs here in America. JWCE also employs 30 people at their world headquarters in Costa Mesa, California.

Muffin Monster dual-shafted grinders have two rows of sharp steel cutters that rotate quietly at a slow speed and with incredibly high torque. The grinder shreds trash and solids into tiny particles so they easily pass through the biosolids process, and it breaks-up sludge clumps to protect heat exchanges and improve the dewatering efficiency of centrifuges. Each grinder stands about 5’ (1.5m) tall and weighs 600-lbs (270 kg).

Muffin Monster and Macho Monster sludge grinders are frequently required for centrifuge protection in the wastewater and petroleum industries. Large solids can jam and even damage high-speed centrifuges which can lead to costly breakdowns and downtime.  JWCE is the only manufacturer to offer 8620 steel cutters with a Rockwell hardness of 60-65 for improved service life, and the only company to offer 3 separated cutter choices – 7, 11 or 13-tooth cutters. The 13-tooth cutter produces the smallest particle size.

To learn more about the IRWD Biosolids & Energy Recovery Facilities Project please visit the IRWD website.

The machinery consultant on the project is MISCO Water. The design engineers are the Irvine office of global engineering firm Black & Veatch. The construction contractor on the $163-million project is a joint-venture of Filanc and Balfour-Beatty. Filanc announced their participation in the IRWD biosolids project earlier this year.