USA – DuPont Water Solutions, a provider of industry-leading purification and separation solutions, has introduced a multi-technology for whey concentration line scaling dairy industry’s wastewater (DWW) management.

According to Yolanda Cuenca, global dairy technical leader at DuPont Water Solutions, the Arla dairy plant represents the multi-technology membrane system using reverse osmosis, nanofiltration and an RO-polisher to achieve a process with zero discharge.

“DuPont’s membrane treatment enables Arla Foods to achieve “100% wastewater reuse” at its factory. For Arla, this meant that treatment was required “before discharge” to avoid adverse environmental impacts,” Cuenca stated.

“DuPont membranes allow dairy processors to embrace the circular economy, transforming potential waste streams into valuable by-products and allowing wastewater to be recovered and reused.”

DuPont’s multi-tech solution, using FilmTec Hypershell RO-8038/30 and NF-8038/30 reverse osmosis(RO) and nanofiltration membranes(NF), concentrates 65 tons of whey per hour, producing 18 tons of concentrated product (23.5% total solids).

Cuenca noted that Arla Foods faced regulatory challenges for wastewater management since the effluent discharged by the factory was organic-rich.

“Every week, Arla Food’s facility in Denmark was discharging 1,000m3 of wastewater generated during the production of 1,450 mozzarella and the cheese whey COD can range from 50,000-80,000 mg/L,” she said.

“Sending wastewater for external treatment was increasingly expensive and Arla Foods needed a solution that would be both energy-efficient and require a minimal footprint.”

The dairy industry consumes large amounts of process water to maintain hygiene and cleanliness standards, generating highly contaminated wastewater streams.

 This makes wastewater management one of the leading environmental challenges in the sector.

Cuenca flagged that the high levels of COD (chemical oxygen demand) and BOD (biological oxygen demand) frequently mean there are regulatory challenges when considering strategies for wastewater disposal.

The measured concentration of the wastewater may vary among different dairy manufacturing sites due to the production “mix of dairy products” produced at each location.

The expected increase in milk and dairy ingredient production and effluent characteristics has led to a global concern around dairy wastewater (DWW) management.

In addition, Cuenca highlighted that there exists a need for knowledge on the amount of DWW produced in different countries, the existing legislation, the cost of the available management practices and the future challenges for achieving sustainable dairy wastewater management.

“The existing legislation and regulations around DWW can be complex and vary across different authorities. Dairy industries may find it challenging to navigate through the legal requirements, resulting in insufficient awareness,” she underscored.

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