By: Narain Madhavan

Water scarcity, related abstraction costs, wastewater pollution hazards and stringent regulatory norms for discharging wastes has driven treatment of wastewater globally across municipal and industrial sectors for several decades. Among the industrial wastewater treatment, technologies have evolved to have sustainable water management in their processes. In the realm of the food and beverage industry, water is a sensitive and critical element in the entire process life cycle where it is essential to have safe potable quality process water.

The conventional treatment methods have been to ensure sufficient treatment with primary oil and grease removal, secondary treatment for removal of organics and tertiary treatment of filtration followed by disinfection to discharge treated water safely. The growing focus is now on treated water reuse for process water. Water reuse requires drinking water quality standards which can be achieved through advanced disinfection.

The photochemical technologies using Ultraviolet (UV) radiation and ozone have proven to be simple, clean, based on oxidation principle achieve contaminant reduction and disinfection. Food industry wastewaters generally are highly organic in nature making the biological treatment effective. However, the changing consumption patterns have changed the characteristics of effluents consisting of compounds which are harmful to micro-organisms in the biological treatment plant.

The use of UV and ozone as advanced oxidation during the pre-treatment can oxidize biorefractory pollutants to more easily biodegradable form. Thus the combination of advanced oxidation and biological treatment may be a probable solution for the treatment of varied food industry wastewaters.

The advanced disinfection technologies which are discussed here with our Xylem global water leadership portfolio offer a holistic approach to the water supply, treatment, and reuse in the food and beverage industry.

For the Food & Beverage industry, at each stage disinfection technologies can be applied:

    1. input in raw water for disinfection & elimination of iron and manganese;
    2. processing – disinfecting product, dilution, and brewing water;

3.  packaging – disinfecting sealing caps, cap rinsing, outside rinsing of filled bottles

  1. Equipment – surface sanitation, final rinsing of bottle washing machine

Product water disinfection in the food industry is a promising potential application which could enable water recycling and reuse. Similarly, in the dairy industry, disinfection of vapor condensates could be conducted using UV and ozone products.

Unlike other currently used disinfection products, UV and ozone have effective chemical contaminant reduction, no disinfection by-products, and effective against chlorine-resistant microorganisms, provide simultaneous disinfection and advanced oxidation. In addition to these advantages, advanced disinfection technologies work on engineered control with least manual intervention, unlike chlorination.

With little training for UV method, staff safety can be ensured. These can be implemented separately or in conjunction to fulfill wastewater discharge requirements, design reuse systems mitigating the risk of supply disruption, lowering future water tariff increases and enhancing the benefit to the environment.

* AGM- New Business Initiatives, Xylem Water Solutions India Pvt Ltd.

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