What is important about trade effluent from food and beverage plants?

Date: 11/02/20 | In: Industrial Wastewater

As with all trade effluent, it is imperative to completely understand your food or beverage plant’s entire trade effluent process. Only with a full comprehension and insight can regulatory compliance be achieved, and improvements made to asset performance management which could lead to valuable cost and efficiency savings.

Here at Detectronic, we have over three decades of experience supporting food and drink manufacturers with trade effluent monitoring. We have worked with many famous brands to ensure they comply with the specific terms of their trade effluent consent licence and achieve regulatory compliance. As such, there are no issues with trade effluent discharge that we’re not familiar with!

“Irrespective of what the client is manufacturing or processing, monitoring trade effluent either with a short- or long-term monitoring survey, is the only way to gain awareness of the process,” explains Dave Walker, commercial director at Detectronic.

“Most industrial clients we work with approach us when they observe an issue with their trade effluent, or they are informed there is a problem following a visit from their local water company. Irrespective of the suspected issue, every trade effluent monitoring project we implement always begins with a site visit and comprehensive consultation with key individuals. We are then able to design a bespoke survey that allows us to address any concerns and gather key data on flow, load and level as required.”

There are several important elements to consider with trade effluent from food and beverage plants. Take a look at the live examples below to find out more about these elements and how we have helped clients address them:

1) Accurate calculation of volume trade effluent

Every processing or manufacturing plant will be charged for its volume of trade effluent; this will be outlined within the consent license. Working with a major UK pea processor, we helped the plant’s owners to fully understand exactly how much effluent their plant was creating.

Bills for similar factories of the size of the pea factory (40,000sq ft) could be up to £80k per annum, so it was vital that the operations team had robust data to inform their consent license and potentially save thousands of pounds each year.

Open flow channel monitoring
This particular processing plant incorporated a trade effluent monitoring station and, after several visits to the site, we specified a Detectronic MSFM Area Velocity monitor. Designed for open channel flow monitoring and using advanced Doppler technology, the monitor measured fluid velocity and, combined with an integral pressure sensor, determined fluid depth.

Savings and compliance
With multiple interface operations and multi parameter logging such as pH and temperature, the monitor also provided a common platform for support control and data acquisition enabling the provision of up-to-date information for compliance, quality analysis and process efficiency.

Since installing the monitor, we were able to provide effective, robust data which ultimately resulted in the company saving money on their trade effluent bills and ensuring full compliance.

2) Understanding dissolved and suspended solids in trade effluent discharge

A commercial bakery contacted us after experiencing issues with the amount of solids in its trade effluent discharge. The solids were exceeding those permitted within the consent licence so we devised a short-term study to find out more.

This study enabled us to ascertain what was happening when the effluent stream discharged, discover the constituents of the trade effluent and identify when spikes in both dissolved and suspended solids were specifically occurring.

We installed one of our ORAKEL Asset Performance Monitors (APM) which features a multi-analyser to accurately calculate daily loads and instantaneous loading and collected data on both flow and load of the effluent discharge to find out exactly what was causing the increases in solids.

The impact of different manufacturing processes
As with many food manufacturers, a number of different manufacturing processes impact the amount of suspended or dissolved solid in the effluent stream. At this particular industrial-sized bakery, an in-house management of the washdown regime was helping to reduce the amount of solids being discharged. However, due to the nature of large production runs, it was inevitable that there would always be high levels of solids in the effluent discharged.

From the short-term survey, we identified that a small background flow was causing the automatic wastewater sampler to act like a timed proportional sampler. This meant it was grabbing a sample from the sewer every 16 minutes, regardless of a true production run. This was further impounded by the dissolved solid being retained in the sewer by a downstream restriction. Therefore, the automatic wastewater sampler was grabbing old waste that was just sat in the sewer.

Reducing the daily solid load to achieve compliance
Adjustments to the sampling regime and investigation to the downstream restriction resulted in a dramatic reduction in the daily solid load previously being reported by the factory to the regulator.

3) Long-term monitoring to ensure regulatory compliance

Several of our industrial clients have retained our services for decades to deliver long-term monitoring at selected production sites. One such client is Cranswick Country Foods Limited and their pig processing site in Watton in Norfolk.

Effluent pit
The plant incorporates a large effluent pit that collects waste from various points located around the factory. Once it is collected, the effluent is pumped over a filter screen to remove any large particles; the filter screen only lets particles of about 1mm through.

The filtered effluent then goes into a holding tank from where it is pumped to lagoons about 4 kilometres away. As the effluent leaves the pumps there is a section of 100mm pipe approximately 2.4m in length. It is on this straight line of pipe that, until recently, one of our longest standing meters – the clamp-on Monitor 8 meter – has been located for the last 25 years! After this point the pipe leaves the pump house and goes into the ground.

Robust data + expert analysis = regulatory compliance
The lagoon end splits into four separate lagoons that belong to a local farmer. The farmer needs to know exactly what Cranswick Country Foods are sending down the line at any given time and our monitoring enables the company to supply that information and data as and when required.

In order to continue to provide this valuable trade effluent monitoring, in the summer of 2018 we installed our new ORAKEL System, a water flow-measurement and analysis solution that includes an ultrasonic ‘time-of-flight’ flow measurement option. We continue to work closely with the operations team at Cranswick Country Foods to make sure they know exactly what is happening with the site’s trade effluent at any given time and achieve total regulatory compliance.

More information

To discover more about trade effluent monitoring for food and beverage plants or to arrange a free site consultation, please feel free to contact the Detectronic team on 01282 449124 or email: sales@detectronic.org