Recovery and treatment of waste water in the agricultural and food industry

Redesign of production processes with the aim of reducing production sewage waterreuse of process and waste water and consideration of non-reused flows as sources of resources that should be used and valued are some of the key processes in water management in the agri-food industry.

For Jorge García Ivars, Project Manager (Department of New Products and Processes) at AINIA, the importance of comprehensive water management in industry has been extensively analyzed in recent years, whether in technological, hygienic-sanitary, environmental, social or economic terms.

Within this importance, the role of technology within waste water treatment as a way to lead a second useful life (or extend its life cycle) is beyond any doubt and, in terms of sustainability, it must go through three significant actions:

  • Minimizing water consumption in industrial activity.
  • Purification of waste streams to reduce their impact on the environment.
  • Regeneration, disinfection and recovery of waste water for reuse.

State of waste water

For García Ivars, the concept of technological water could be defined as water that is used or involved in the production activities of industry, including production processes (as an ingredient or raw material), processing, preservation, means of transport, power generation (boilers, chillers, heat exchangers or engines), cleaning and disinfection and similar industrial applications.

“In order to think about the reuse of these wastewaters, the aforementioned regeneration, recovery and disinfection should be carried out in accordance with the quality criteria in order to turn these wastewaters into technological waters, which is covered by the provisions Royal Decree 1620/2007of December 7, which establishes the legal regime for the reuse of purified water,” said Ivars.

Especially for food industryprocess water could be identified as “all those waters used in the food industry for the purposes of production, processing, preservation or marketing of products or substances intended for human consumption, as well as those used for cleaning surfaces, objects and materials that may be in contact with food”, as stated in the text described in article 2.b of Royal Decree 140/2003 of February 7, which establishes health criteria for the quality of water for human consumption.

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