From the farm to the manufacturing facility to the table, clean water is a crucial part of the production process no matter the food or beverage item. At dairy production plants, vegetable packing plants, breweries and countless other facilities, water in high volumes is needed as both a utility and an ingredient. Given the final destination of the commercial product—our stomachs—the quality of that water is paramount. Effective water treatment systems that remove particles and contaminants are a cornerstone of the food and beverage industry.
The World Health Organization (WHO) outlines that potable, drinking-quality water should be used in food handling and processing with the exception of certain processes like chilling or non-food related purposes like fire control and steam production. Potable water is needed not only as a key ingredient for many foods and drinks, but also for cleaning and maintaining equipment throughout the facility.
When it comes to water treatment for the food and beverage industry, safety and cleanliness aren’t the only consideration. Impurities like chloride, sulfate and others can impact the taste of a beverage like wine or beer if not filtered out prior to production. Reverse osmosis is commonly used to achieve this pure water quality, as it removes chemicals and bacteria to produce water that’s both safe for consumption and free of unwanted impurities.
Along with treating water on its way into the production process, food and beverage facilities also have to manage the treatment of the wastewater byproduct at the end of the production cycle. Before treatment, wastewater from food processing is often highly contaminated with biological oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD), fats, oils and greases, total suspended solids, and other nutrients and pathogens. Treating this wastewater is a delicate process, with many considerations given the volume and wide range of contaminants in food and beverage byproducts. Processing plants can reduce their water footprint and gain more control of their water supply by re-using this treated wastewater rather than simply disposing of the waste.
By investing in quality water treatment technology, facilities can generate more usable water to save money and increase efficiency. Food and beverage processing plants looking to ensure the output of a quality consumer product should opt for the best water treatment solutions on the market.