French Road Cellars


French Road Cellars is a custom-crush winery that makes a wide variety of wines and ciders on the Leelanau Peninsula. The facility is linked to Chateau Fontaine but produces for several other wine labels.


The winery’s process water went to an old septic tank followed by two bottomless tanks that were used to disperse their effluent. They had clogged and were overflowing. They had no room for a formal leach field and did not know what to do. 


SludgeHammer came in and installed the Aerobic Bacterial Generator ( ABG ) equipment to improve the wastewater quality. It recovered the percolation pits and the system was no longer overflowing. But DEQ did not like putting that much water into the soil in such a concentrated manner. SludgeHammer worked with DEQ to create a scaled up system that could improve the quality further so an alternative disposal could be found.


The new treatment system was able to take advantage of the bottomless tanks, by cementing them in so they could add capacity. New tanks were added and we used a horizontal drill to take the effluent up under their parking lot and onto a hill in back. We plowed in a subsurface drip field and the hillside has been accepting all their wastewater for the last 5 years with no problems.