University of Minnesota
Minnesota Technical Assistance Program
http://www.mntap.umn.edu
612.624.1300

Water and Wastewater Issues in Food Processing Facilities

Water and wastewater are common inputs and outputs of most food processing facilities. Even in a state where water is abundant, water use can add up to significant costs for a facility. Therefore, conserving water and reducing the amount of BOD, TSS, Phosphorus and other materials in your wastewater can not only save you money, but can also reduce your facility’s environmental impact.Cheese

Water is commonly used for cleaning procedures, which can result in food waste being sent to the sewer with the water. This process wastes money because some product can be recovered and may be sold to other industries or used as animal feed. Additionally, flushing product down the sewer lines adds to your facility’s BOD loading to the wastewater treatment facility. High loading levels impact the treatment facility in your community as then it has to treat the water more stringently; those costs are passed back to your facility and can cost thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Implementing water conservation and pollution prevention strategies into your facility can help you reduce the cost of water and wastewater in your facility.

Process/ equipment modifications

Some ideas for reducing water use in your facility may include:

  • Replacing traditional faucets with low-flow faucets
  • Using dry caustic peeling methods for fruits and vegetables
  • Shutting off water during breaks or non-production hours
  • Installing water control units and flow meters
  • Reusing clean process water for pallet cleaning or other outside cleaning procedures
  • Reusing clean process water in other areas of the process, where appropriate

Operational and housekeeping changes

Opportunities to reduce waste being sent down the drain in your facility may include:

  • Placing catch pans under potential overflows/leaks
  • Monitoring fill machines
  • Covering drains during loading and unloading
  • Implementing pre-cleaning and dry cleanup procedures

MnTAP Resources

The following resources may help you reduce your water and wastewater discharge.

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