water reuse

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Take the lead on sustainability through water reuse

With expected population growth of 2 billion by 2050, and at least 14 of the world’s 20 megacities already facing issues surrounding access to safe drinking water and sanitation, our water resources are under great pressure. Furthermore, the ongoing challenge of water pollution and overconsumption increase the pressure, which leave the world in the midst of a water scarcity crisis.  Read more

Engineers use electricity to clean up toxic water

A team of University of Sydney engineers are using electricity to clean up heavily polluted industrial wastewater. They hope the findings will help wineries, breweries, distillers and pharmaceutical manufacturers and similar industries that must comply with wastewater regulations.

Researchers from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering developed an electrochemical oxidation process with the aim of cleaning up complex wastewater that contained a toxic chemical pollutants.

“Our study, published in Algal Research, involved industrial wastewater that had been heavily contaminated with a cocktail of organic and inorganic species during a biofuel production process”, said Julia Ciarlini Jungers Soares, who is completing a PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering under the supervision of Dr Alejandro Montoya.

The wastewater, which contained carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, was generated in a pilot plant, designed by the team for the production of biofuels using naturally abundant microalgae.

The process involved treating wastewater with electricity using specialised electrodes. They discharged electricity, then drove oxidation reactions near the electrode surfaces, transforming the organic contaminants into harmless gasses, ions or minerals.

“We have employed an incredibly powerful process that eliminates even the most persistent non-biodegradable pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides, as well as various classes of organic compounds that can be found in many industrial effluents,” she said.

“The process is relatively simple, does not require the addition of chemicals or severe operation conditions, and does not produce additional waste streams.”

“Wastewater is a significant issue for our environment, as well as for many industries who use substantial volumes of water in their processes, such as in reactions, transport, and washing and cooling. Finding suitable solutions for reuse or disposal is often very challenging and costly.

“The electrochemical method that we used can be readily applied to industries that must comply with strict regulations for wastewater disposal, such as pulp and paper processing, wineries, as well as pharmaceutical production facilities.

“Worldwide, researchers are investigating methods for the development of biofuels from algae. Developing alternatives for the treatment and reuse of this industrial effluent is a hot research topic and can bring opportunities for energy and resource recovery within a circular bio-economy framework.”

The team will soon carry out research focused on specific contaminants to better understand the chemical transformations that take place during electrochemical oxidation and will upscale the process.

A 2017 UNESCO report found that the opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource were vast, and that safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

Banana farms produce high-performance in water management and catchment

The Dole Food Company has announced that 11 banana farms in Colombia and two in Ecuador have achieved certification to the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard for taking water management to a higher level in Dole’s own farming and suppliers’ growing and sourcing operations.

The standard is intended to drive social, environmental and economic benefits at landscape level which encompasses all users of a particular water catchment, allowing them to better understand how their water use impacts others, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable water management.

In the recently released 2020 Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Report, Dole identified water conservation and optimization as the most relevant and impactful sustainable practice across its operations.

By adopting this water management standard, Dole and its growers continue to move progressively towards even more responsible water governance and mitigation of supply chain water challenges across banana operations. The knowledge and experience from these 13 farms will be shared across other Dole farming regions.

The achievement of the AWS certification is part of a multi-year collaboration program involving Dole and its growers along with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and food retailer EDEKA in Germany with the goal of driving sustainability in banana farms in Ecuador and Colombia. In addition to more sustainable water use, the program includes integrated crop cultivation management, conservation and promotion of ecosystems and biodiversity, climate protection, waste management and social aspects.

“Clearly there is now more pressure on local water resources also driven by global supply chain demand than any previous time in our history. Responsible stakeholders, including farmers, trader, retailers, municipalities, as well as individual citizens all recognize that only through collaboration and collective action can we maintain a healthy and robust supply of freshwater for people and nature,” said Johannes Schmiester, Senior Project Manager Water Stewardship of WWF Germany. “And we need leadership partners to plant a stake in the ground and commit to doing their part towards the sustainability of this vital resource on which we all depend.”

Xavier Roussel, Vice President of Marketing and Sustainability for Dole Food Company, stated, “In farming there has always been a mutual dependence between neighbors, but AWS took those relationships to a higher level by formally creating local water platforms which rely on the same water sources. It is important to think beyond the borders of our farms. Many sustainability issues with which we deal need more holistic solutions and tight local collaborations to deliver improvements for all

Scientists find cheaper way to find outbreaks in wastwater

Tracking community outbreaks of COVID-19 through wastewater can happen faster, using more cost-effective tests, according to new research published by the Australian national science agency, CSIRO.

The new research builds on the world’s first peer-reviewed proof-of-concept trial run in Brisbane by CSIRO and The University of Queensland which tested untreated sewage and found fragments of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Scientists have now refined their methods of concentrating and recovering the virus from wastewater samples, which can indicate the presence of COVID-19 carriers in the community, regardless of whether they show symptoms.

Seven methods were tested in the latest study, confirming the most cost-effective and rapid virus recovery process which extracts virus information from wastewater, so it can be tested, with each sample now taking between 15 to 30 minutes to process.

Worldwide wastewater monitoring could save up to $1.47 billion for national monitoring programs depending on frequency of sampling and population, according to research. Wastewater monitoring has been shown to be significantly cheaper and faster than clinical screening for COVID-19, but would be used as an added diagnostic measure.

CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said that as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, science has found a way to help individual communities avoid a second wave of the pandemic.

“This unique monitoring breakthrough will ensure each suburb gets the medical support it needs so all of us, as a nation, can stay healthier,” Marshall said.

CSIRO researcher Dr Warish Ahmed led the findings published in The Science of the Total Environment, which evaluated the concentration, recovery and detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA (its genetic code).

“We will keep refining the virus concentration and detection methods to provide more sensitive and accurate results of the viral load in wastewater,” Dr Ahmed said.

“This will provide information on the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community so public health officials can have as much information as possible to manage an outbreak in a timely manner.”

The results will be shared with a new global scientific collaboration, COVID-19 WBE Collaborative, which brings together more than 50 global experts in water-based epidemiology (WBE) to share testing methods and data on wastewater-based surveillance for the current and future disease outbreaks.

The wastewater testing is conducted on untreated sewage, collected as it enters a water treatment plant to provide community-level results.

Based on our knowledge of the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in  wastewater, drinking water is very well protected against all viruses, including the new COVID-19.

pH system ensures compliance with strict council wastewater regulations

Devil’s Elbow Brewery is fast becoming a highlight on any visitor to Dubbo’s itinerary. Named after a bend in the Macquarie River that runs through Dubbo, the brewery is set in the town’s industrial precinct with over 400 people on site during the working week. Being the only food and beverage option in the area means business has arrived thick and fast to the brewery. Weekends bring the greater Dubbo crowds, as well as tourists looking for a unique spot for lunch or dinner – and the chance to sample some locally crafted beer.

When it came to addressing the strict wastewater requirements of Dubbo Regional Council, the team behind Devil’s Elbow found they needed a pH correction system to suit their specific needs.

Brendon O’Sullivan, CEO and general manager for Devil’s Elbow, visited 4 Pines Brewery in Sydney’s suburb of Brookvale after hearing the success of the wastewater treatment system there.

The team at 4 Pines recommended O’Sullivan get in touch with Aerofloat.

“We visited the site at 4 Pines and found that the Aerofloat pH system there was exactly what we were looking for. I got in touch with the Aerofloat team straight away,” said O’Sullivan. “Aerofloat were easy to talk to and very experienced – they really knew what our requirements were despite us being in such a niche market. They were able to build a system to specifically suit our needs and space.”

O’Sullivan values the voice of the brewing community around Australia.
“The craft beer community is outstanding. We’ve had support and ideas from every brewery we’ve spoken to, from Queensland to New South Wales and down to Victoria. We feel really lucky to have been recommended to work with Aerofloat,” he said.

Aerofloat installed a pH correction system to ensure compliance of outgoing wastewater. The system includes a 2,500L tank complete with a collection pit transfer pump and an inline solids filter, mixing pump, pH monitor, chemical dosing pumps and flow meter.

“The area we had to work with was pretty tight – around 2.5 x 1.5 metres. The system was built to fit the site perfectly,” said Aerofloat’s operation’s manager, Tim McCann.

“This particular system was unique as we designed it to be transportable using a standard sized ute,” said McCann. “This kept transport costs from Sydney to Dubbo at an absolute minimum and allowed us to arrive on-site with the system as soon as Devil’s Elbow were ready for installation.

“The system also includes a remotely viewable data logger, meaning the pH data and discharge flow rates are continually recorded.”

Having the automated system instrumentation allows Devil’s Elbow staff to monitor and predict pH over time. It also means that the system is under constant surveillance, with 24-hour monitoring in place. Devil’s Elbow staff are alerted automatically when any unusual activity arises, allowing them to focus on other tasks.

“Our local council requires us to provide monthly reports on wastewater effluent – the automated system means we can meet our commitment to that,” said O’Sullivan.

The brewery officially opened to the public on July 1, 2019, with four of the proposed 10 beers already available including its signature mid-strength lager Dub Vegas, the Nun Launcher pale ale, the Nosey Bob Red Ale and a German-style Small Arms Lager.

“We needed our pH correction system in place in time for production – Aerofloat ensured that we met that deadline, on budget,” said O’Sullivan. “Aerofloat’s engineers made the pre-installation process easy by giving us clear instructions on what we needed on site.”

Aerofloat was able to apply its own company technology while incorporating parts from other suppliers.

“The turnaround from the Aerofloat team was terrific. Aerofloat built the system in a few days, and the installation took less than a day. It was simply a matter of lifting the skid off with a forklift and connecting the plumbing. A couple of walk-through lessons with the Aerofloat engineers following installation, and we were ready to go,” said O’Sullivan.

The system has been in operation since June this year and is giving excellent results.
“The system has worked a treat. We are really pleased with how easy it is to operate, and how effective it is. Council have already been on site and are really happy with the results,” said O’Sullivan.

Being the largest craft brewery in the Dubbo area, Devil’s Elbow also offers a cafe and coffee roasting, and a full kitchen serving up to 200 pizzas an hour.

“The brewery is a stand-out in the Dubbo area, creating as many as 40 new jobs and increasing tourism in the Dubbo area. Being right on one of the major highways leading into Dubbo means we attract passers-by as well,” said O’Sullivan.

Devil’s Elbow has long been a pipe dream of O’Sullivan and the other three founders, all of whom are long-time friends. O’Sullivan and his team enjoyed working with Aerofloat – as a family-run, Australian-owned company, the Aerofloat team understood how to support the Devil’s Elbow crew in their new venture.

Aerofloat have given expert advice to the team as needed and the pH correction system is working effectively.

“The Aerofloat system has been operating as smooth as silk from the word go,” said O’Sullivan. “We have remote monitoring on there, allowing us to keep track of the system. It’s nice to know that if we encounter any issues, we’re not alone. Aerofloat’s engineers can log in remotely and will be able to get us back on track without needing to be on site.”

Aerofloat offers the food and beverage industry a full range of wastewater treatment expertise, including pH correction systems, full wastewater systems, software programming and electrical support for all its automated wastewater system instrumentation.

How to make money from your wastewater

We often hear about innovation in the food industry as it relates to core business. Whether innovation is thought of as new product development, packaging design, or adoption of concepts like automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) or even blockchain, it is easy to focus on the glamorous, as opposed to the pragmatic aspects of future business.

Wastewater ranks among the most important sustainability challenges facing our agri-food system. As populations increase, product demand grows, as does the need for effective wastewater solutions. In the hope that ground water salination and ocean acidification won’t be our leading legacy, innovators are working to transform wastewater from a hazard into a profit-generating asset that works with the environment.

Industry is now entering an era where wastewater is seen as an asset of a mature sustainable business. It’s time for wastewater to contribute to the bottom line. Project delivery company, Wiley, has explored how to stop money from going down the drain and to make money off wastewater.

An example of next-generation wastewater treatment comes from the Norwegian company BioWater Technology. Its unique biofilm carrier blocks are designed to grow micro-organisms that efficiently absorb pollutants from the water. This process has proven effective in treating biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), a characteristic of food wastewater, which makes it harmful to the ecosystem.

Key to BioWater’s success is the ability to work with food processors. With outflows varying in richness, volume and temperature, it is easy to kill or overwhelm bio-wastewater processing organisms. BioWater can keep up with this fluctuating input and delivers excellent water processing outcomes in a cost-effective and energy-efficient way.
BioWater’s approach is a good solution for removing pollutants, however, it doesn’t transform wastewater into a revenue-generating asset.

To produce revenue from wastewater, algae is the food industry’s secret weapon. Algae has been used in two distinct ways in the management of waste. First, algae can be grown off the nutrients in wastewater, producing high-value bioproducts as the nutrients are extracted, cleaning the water. Second, algae can sequester carbon from the exhaust of coal and gas boilers, directly reducing the emissions of energy generation, while producing the same high-value bioproducts.

The opportunity for the food industry is that food processors bring together both a nutrient-rich wastewater stream and CO2 rich smoke. With these two resources at hand, it is possible to provide everything an algae culture needs, giving a unique edge to the food industry in profitable waste management.

If successful, this concept means food processors may cease to pay for wastewater treatment and will instead profit from their nutrient-rich waste stream by selling valuable bio-products. As a bonus, this will slash their direct CO2 emissions.

This kind of cooperation with biology is indicative of how industrial waste could be processed in future. The algae-based value generation concept is effective because it works with the organism, providing everything it needs through combining multiple waste streams. In this way, a small but complete ecosystem can be created, developing untapped value and transforming the food system from – an impost, to a constructive piece of the sustainability puzzle.

These ideas are still at the early stage, but conceptually speaking, it is certainly possible to grow algae and produce bioproducts directly from industrial waste streams. The economics of these solutions may take some time to develop but investment continues to flow into these areas and more solutions will begin to surface. As innovative companies enter the market, one thing is certain – profiting from waste streams will be too compelling for the market to ignore making this approach part of the future of responsible food businesses.

Nurion: reverse osmosis system for the food and beverage industry

Through its business unit Solys, Veolia Water Technologies has announced the launch of the NURION, a skid-mounted, reverse-osmosis (RO) system designed to produce high-quality ingredient water.

The Food and Beverage industry requires water for various applications within their manufacturing facilities, notably as an ingredient, where it must be free from undesirable taste, odor, color and impurities that could be harmful to consumers and to the product quality.

To help its customers comply with the most stringent regulations and guarantee the quality and consistency of the water which enters their products, SOLYS has developed NURION™, a reverse osmosis system that produces ingredient water for infant formula and soft drinks.

NURION ensures water quality consistency thanks to its permeate line design and certified components, which follow EHEDG hygienic design principles to optimise microbial control throughout the treatment process. The equipment pipes are made entirely of stainless steel, with a variable speed pump integrated with automatic control valves, aligned with the automation features ensuring a stable operation and an autonomous reverse osmosis. In addition, all non-metallic materials (pressure vessels, membranes, sealings/gaskets) are in accordance with at least one of the drinking water FDA/NSF-61/ACS regulations.

Within the NURION range (permeate flow-rate from 5 up to 25 m3/hr), Solys is proposing a global offer, ensuring a high equipment reliability and giving flexibility through different options:

  • full standard treatment line including pre-treatment;
  • complementary products: Cleaning in Place (CIP) and chemical dosing sets;
  • piping and installation kits;
  • Aquavista line of cloud-based digital solutions for plant performance optimisation;
  • consumables, spare parts and emergency service kits; and
  • Hydrex line of water treatment chemicals.

Gear units ensure smooth operation in wastewater applications

Nord Drivesystems has developed products that comply to safety and hygiene standards and can handle harsh washdown environments.

The products are available in size ranges suitable to every industry – from food and beverage and pharmaceutical right through to wastewater and mining.

Products are locally assembled and Nord has a large local stock holding and service team trained to help customers with commissioning and service.

The company recently supplied product at a wastewater treatment at a municipality that supplies approximately 2.5 million people in a metropolitan area with process water. To enable the bacterial decomposition of dirt particles, the wastewater needed to be oxygenated by constant churning. Two large, geared motors propelled the mixers around the clock. In the outdoor facility, temperature vary throughout the year.

The facility contained drive technology that was nearly 30 years old and needed to be replaced step by step. The original suppliers had discontinued the lines, which made spare parts hard to come by. Also, the originally installed gear units required maintenance to a problematic extent. In particular, the fluctuations in temperature have frequently affected the lubrication.

Getting a grip on heat
Searching a new supplier, the municipality found Nord Drivesystems, which had been operating a sales office in the country since 2003. Two combinations of Nord helical shaft gear units and

Siemens motors were installed, and have since proven themselves during continuous operation.

Nord used a high-quality synthetic long-life lubricant for the helical shaft gear units. It withstood the ambient temperatures considerably better than mineral oil – with the latter, the oil film would break down at high temperatures, resulting in increased wear and tear.
Each gear unit required 210 l of oil, which had to be changed after approximately 20,000 hours of operation. Other manufacturers stipulated shorter maintenance intervals, which made a difference at a price of the oil. An oil cooling system additionally increased operational safety in the Nord gear units – a temperature sensor constantly monitored the temperature of the lubricant and activated the cooling system as soon as a configurable limit was exceeded. In this application, the limit is 60°C.

Heated oil was then pumped out, cooled by an oil cooler and returned to the gear unit. When the temperature fell below 40°C the cooling system switched off automatically.

Drive technology in detail
Currently, there are two helical shaft gear units with a 132kW performance from Nord’s SK 12382VZ series that are installed at the waste water treatment plant. They are used in combination with Siemens motors via IEC adapters.

Nord’s helical shaft gear units are available as two- or three-stage basic types with hollow or solid shafts, in foot-mounted, flange-mounted, or face-mounted versions – each with the same housing. Suitable for integration into limited installation spaces, they can be combined with many components from the modular Nord system.

Atex models and models with IP55 or IP66 protection are available on request for all types. All gear units are manufactured according to the UNICASE concept, originally developed by Nord in 1981. This enables maximum performance for small gear dimensions and ensures operational safety, high efficiency, high output torques, high resistance to axial and radial loads, low-noise operation, low maintenance and a long lifetime.

Veolia supplies Kraft Heinz China with in-house wastewater treatment

Kraft Heinz China has selected Veolia Water Technologies to provide the multinational food manufacturer with a wastewater treatment solution for its new soy sauce plant in Guangdong, China. The implementation of Veolia’s technologies at Kraft Heinz’s new plant in Guangdong will enable them to meet the stringent national and provincial discharge standards.

An American food company formed by the merger of Kraft Foods Group and Heinz in 2015, Kraft Heinz is the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world. The new Kraft Heinz Yangjiang food factory in Guangdong covers an area of over 13 hectares, and will produce about 125,000 tonnes of soy sauce per year.

“This project is a testament to the quality of Veolia’s wastewater treatment solutions and it reaffirms Veolia’s leading position as a water and wastewater solutions provider,” shared James Peng, managing director, Solutions China, Veolia Water Technologies. “By combining our technologies and our knowledge of local discharge limits, Veolia is able to help Kraft Heinz mitigate wastewater challenges in an increasingly environmentally conscious market”.

Veolia will provide its AnoxKaldnes Biological Activated Sludge (BAS) solution in the Kraft Heinz Yangjiang factory. Optimally designed to provide a volumetric loading capacity that is up to three times higher than conventional activated sludge, the BAS biological wastewater treatment solution is a combination of Veolia’s compact AnoxKaldness Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) and activated sludge processes. This will allow Kraft Heinz to cope with an overall higher organic load than conventional activated sludge processes, while requiring a relatively small footprint.

Apart from the AnoxKaldnes BAS solution, the wastewater treatment plant will also be equipped with a Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) clarifier system for total phosphorous removal and biological sludge separation.

“As Veolia continues to expand its presence in Asia, we are confident that our robust solutions and long-term focused customer service will continue to benefit customers across various industries. With a competent and strong professional team providing local support in China, we are excited about future growth opportunities here,” said Peng.

Machine turns tonnes of food scraps into wastewater in Melbourne

A machine installed by City of Melbourne has stopped more than 60 tonnes of garbage from going to landfill in the past year by turning food scraps into wastewater.

In the 12 months to June 2018, the Orca aerobic digestion system used micro-organisms to transform 62 tonnes of food scraps from the Degraves Street café precinct into greywater, making it one of the most heavily used machines of its type in operation in Australia.

Orca Enviro Systems executive general manager Tas Papas said micro-organisms in the unit digested the waste, creating wastewater that went straight into the sewer system via a grease arrestor.

“The Orca is basically a mechanical stomach that digests fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy and proteins, so you end up with greywater that is safe to put into the drain without resorting to landfill,” said Papas.

READ: App takes bite out of food waste

“Degraves Street cafes set aside food waste as part of their daily operations. By diverting the food waste from landfill, we are also able to prevent greenhouse gases from escaping into the environment,” he said.

“Over the course of a year, that also means more than 8,000 litres in diesel fuel is saved because fewer trucks are needed on the road. Orca has helped City of Melbourne to build strong support among local businesses for food recycling efforts and keep the bustling precinct clean and appealing,” said Papas.

With food scraps generated from this busy café district increasing and with space at a premium, Orca was chosen to handle the increased volume of food waste.

It is part of a new wave of food recycling technology that is rolling out across Australia in shopping centres, food courts, hotels and pubs.

The machine was installed in the Degraves Street recycling facility in May 2017.

Orca focuses on reducing business’ environmental impact through the better management of organic food waste.

To do this, it partnered with Totally Green as the exclusive distributor of the Orca food waste system in Australia.