CASE STUDY: Planning Drainage When You Don’t Have A Plan

Overview: One of the most important components of planning a new brewery or expanding an existing facility is the drainage system. Acidic chemicals, high temperature fluids and sanitizers make it necessary to have a high-quality system made of stainless steel or vinyl esther concrete. Breweries discard large volumes of fluids. Some larger breweries see drainage of 200-300 gallons of liquid per day which reinforces the need to have a solid plan on where drainage will be diverted too.

Scenario: There may be instances where breweries are unable to make a proper plan for their drainage system. For example, we recently visited a local expanding brewery that had planned to install one of our trench drain systems. Their representative contacted us, was visited in person and provided a quote. Time passed, but we hadn’t heard back from them. When a follow up visit was made, they explained that the decision was made to go with a modification of the existing drains.

The reason they didn’t install trench drains is that decisions were still being made about the types and quantities of brewing equipment that would be purchased. It then became difficult for them to plan out where their potential equipment was going to sit which ultimately influenced where the drainage system would be installed. With a project deadline quickly approaching they decided to move forward with their solution.

Their solution: The floor level needed to be raised 6” to support the load of their new brewing equipment. New concrete was poured and the existing drains were essentially turned into catch basins with iron grates. They now regret not having trench drains because they have tripping hazards with hoses stretching across the floors and the drains are currently located in the middle of the walkways or in other hard to reach areas making it difficult to clean out and divert hoses to. At this point it would also be quite costly to cut into the concrete to run a trench drain system.

The challenge:
It is important to keep the project moving even when there may be unanswered questions regarding other aspects of the project. How can you effectively plan for trench drains when there are key unknown variables to your brewery project? Regardless of the scenario, there will always be a need to plan for the diversion of fluid runoff. Failure to prepare drainage plans when developing the floor layout can mean costly future expenses.

Potential Solutions:
Consider installing channels in adjacent corners using an “L” formation. Some other variations that may be helpful include “T” or “H” formations. Running parallel channels near two opposite walls could be another alternative layout.

Benefits: There are several benefits to adding trench drains although project variables are missing:

• More efficient diversion of runoff
• Potentially facilitates other project aspects
• Shorter hose runs from equipment to drainage
• Safer for staff/eliminates tripping hazards
• Eliminates future repair expense
• Facilitates cleaning of channels

Conclusion: It’s not always possible to properly plan for trench drain systems when expanding or planning a brewery. However, installing drainage in a thoughtfully considered
formation can allow the project to move forward while providing a basic foundation that may assist in making other project decisions.