Food Processing Industry – Wastewater

food processing wastewater treatment

The manufacturing sector (NAICS 31-33) is comprised in part by the food processing industry.

Commercial food processing starts with raw materials.  These raw materials are converted into consumables such as meats, dairy, vegetable, grain, cereals and bakery items.

Raw materials used by the food processing industry

  • Animal parts
  • Fish/marine parts
  • Vegetable parts

The food processing industry uses many of gallons of water per day in plant operations. Even in locations where water is plentiful, the cost of water for food processors can result in very large water bills. Conserving and recycling water are significant opportunities for food processors to realize dramatic costs savings.

Food processors often use water for:

  • Rinsing
  • Washing
  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Diluting
  • Pasteurizing
  • Blanching
  • Conveying

This varied use of water by the food processing industry can result in the consumption of many gallons of water per day and the generation of large amounts of wastewater. Complications can arise for plant managers when wastewater contains organic compounds, solids and undesirable nutrients.

Organics found in wastewater by food processors

  • Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)
  • Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
  • Total Organic Carbon (TOC)
  • Oil and Grease (O&G)

Particulate solids in wastewater (dissolved or suspended)

  • Total Solids (TS)
  • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
  • Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
  • Total Fixed Solids (TFS)
  • Total Volatile Solids (TVS)

Undesirable nutrients in waste water from manufacturing food processing

An increase in nutrients can lead to eutrophication in water bodies such as streams, rivers and lakes:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus

If this food waste is sent to the local sewer as wastewater, then money is wasted.

The impact of the waste is realized when the Environmental Protection Industry (EPA), which sets wastewater discharge standards, fines the food processor for exceeding preset levels.

This process wastes money because some product can be recovered and may be sold to other industries or used as animal feed.

Food processing plants can recover materials from wastewater

  • Meat
  • Blood
  • Inorganic particles
  • Soluble proteins
  • Other food waste

Conserving water and reducing the amount of organics, solids and nutrients in wastewater can not only save food processors and their plant managers from hefty fines, but can also reduce a food processing plant’s environmental impact.

Contact Aries Tek to learn how to meet government mandated discharge limits. Stop wastewater discharge fines today…