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Innovative solutions for sustainable dairy processing

Providing a comprehensive overview of eco-friendly & innovative wastewater treatment.

Water resources management, wastewater treatment, valorization, and reuse are key global challenges. To maximise the dairy sector’s contribution to water conservation, efficient, innovative and cost-effective wastewater treatment technologies are critical.

Like all wastes produced by production plants, dairy wastewater must be treated before it is discharged into water bodies. Owing to its composition and organic matter content, biological treatments are preferred.

Currently, activated sludge is one of the most used processes, whereby wastewater containing organic matter is aerated in an aeration basin, where micro-organisms metabolize the suspended and soluble organic matter.

This treatment, completed by other unitary operations, achieves the quality levels required for discharge.

Valorization of dairy wastewater presents many interesting possibilities.

The unique composition of dairy wastewater can support energy production and its treatment, under some conditions, allows for the recovery of water for its reuse.  

Different technologies are currently available to treat wastewater produced through dairy processing. These include:

  • anaerobic reactors to treat carbon pollution and produce biogas
  • membrane bioreactors, using membrane filtration for treating and producing water for reuse.

Driving dairy sustainability

Increased valorization of wastewater across the sector can support the drive for sustainability and continual improvement of the environmental impact of the dairy sector.

To help deliver on the dairy sector’s commitment to the adoption of sustainable practices throughout the dairy chain, IDF work has focused in ensuring that best expertise and resources are available to the entire dairy supply chain regarding wastewater processing and treatment options.

For more information, read IDF Bulletin 500/2019: Wastewater Treatment in Dairy Processing

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