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Water recycling in the food and beverage industry

Water reuse in the food and beverage industry

The food and beverages processing industry requires a huge amount of water. One of the main problems is the amount of wastewater continuously produced in the food plants. The water is used as an ingredient, a cleaning agent, for boiling and cooling purposes, for transportation and conditioning of raw materials.
Spent process water in the food industry (salt content as el. conductivity <3000μS/cm and COD<700mgO2/l) can be desalinated and organics can be removed so as to fulfill the requirements for water reuse. Food industry standards specify that, spent process water intended for reuse (even for cleaning purposes) must be at least of drinking quality.
Regulations for other applications, such as boiler make-up water or warm cleaning water, are even more stringent.
There has been a study on the possibilities for reuse of vapor condensate in a milk processing company (dried milk production) as boiler make-up water, and the reuse of chiller shower water in a meat processing company (sausage production) as warm cleaning water.[1]


This study shows that on the basis of the treatment of two low contaminated process water streams in the food industry applying a combination of pre-treatment, membrane filtration and UV disinfection, treated water of a defined quality could be obtained.
It was also shown by numerous chemical and microbiological analyses that with a two-stage membrane combination of nanofiltration, process water can be obtained with a quality good enough for boiler make-up water or warm cleaning water. [1]




[1] A. Rossi, F. Malpei, L. Bonomo, R. Bianchi, Textile wastewater reuse in northern Italy. Milan, Italy 1999

Information about water reuse in the paper and textile industry,

Water reuse in greenhouse horticulture

Information about water treatment and reuse of oily wastewater

Water reuse in the poultry industry

Find books about water recycling

Should you know of any other interesting or more recent book, report, article or publication, concerning water reuse in the food and beverage industry please let us know, so that we can include reported case-studies in the above overview.

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