Growing water consumption globally is creating a scarcer commodity. The cost of water as a resource is increasing accordingly, matched by the burden of rising wastewater costs. In addition, when treating water discharged from your production processes and cleaning regime, you have to contend with increasingly strict regulations over permissible levels of contamination.
Don’t See Your Profits go Down the Drain
You’re acutely aware of the need to reduce your overall water consumption. But, how do you do this in the face of conflicting advice? Reducing consumption requires an equal emphasis on recovery and recycling. It’s critical that implementing any program must be achieved at a standard of hygiene and safety that has no impact on your products; this is what drives your need to optimize and reduce waste from production and hygiene processes.
Routine open plant cleaning (OPC) and cleaning-in-place (CIP) regimes need to become more efficient at minimising the waste going into the water. Using excess water in these CIP and OPC regimes, and for other operational processes such as conveyor belt lubrication, that result in water exiting down the drain is what the industry was accustomed to. However, industry practices are changing: physically removing debris and detritus and diverting it from being washed off to drain is becoming increasingly important. What we might look back on as sheer wastefulness is simply becoming uncompetitive in today’s production environment due to rising costs.
Why Not Just Focus on Reducing your Physical Use of Water?
Considered in isolation, this disregards the complexities involved. If you’re a net water generator - such as a potato processor – and your process involves taking water out of a product, your water out will be greater than your water in. However, if you’re a gross user - using more water than your products are giving out – looking to improve your water usage highlights reducing contamination as a priority. Without this focus, your problems may outweigh any positive outcomes you achieve.
Treat, Recycle, Reuse
It’s not just the volume going out, but the quality. A small amount of water with a high level of contaminants can be harder to deal with effectively upon discharge. It’s here that collaboration and reuse are key. Technology for wastewater treatment and recycling is relatively new. As it rapidly evolves, there’s a contention that it might be better to use plenty of water for processes, but with the aim of treating and recycling it yourself.
Whatever your viewpoint, the undoubted emphasis will be more and more on how facilities deal with water: how it can be reused to contribute to a more sustainable future where water is routinely used in a far more efficient way.
Chemistry is Part of the Bigger Picture
Enhancing efficiencies depends on the quality of physical support - along with the experience and expertise – your water treatment provider delivers on-site. One size does not fit all. Every facility is different, so it’s essential to study specifically where your wastewater comes from. Analyse the bigger picture of whole site usage and how you can optimise the chemistry and make that commitment to do water treatment more efficiently. By applying clean chemistry, you can achieve considerable water savings.
The Relationship Between Good Hygiene and Water
Viewing water treatment and hygiene hand-in-hand is essential to change current perceptions and to realise the benefits. Why is this relationship crucial? Because problems in hygiene are often water-related: not necessarily about water usage but concern water treatment. Commit to a water treatment partnership that combines chemistry, engineering and expertise to ensure all factors are analysed to maximize results. You need a solution to fit your specific needs as a food, beverage or dairy processor. Beyond tailoring to the size of your facility, it should also be designed to streamline your cleaning and sanitation processes.
Taking a unified approach to water management and product hygiene protects against contamination and reduces treatment costs. Also, by driving food safety throughout your facility, you ensure compliance while ultimately safeguarding your reputation and brand.