Achieving sustainable dairy wastewater management

Research released by the International Dairy Federation (IDF) explores new wastewater treatments in dairy processing, to be used as a guide to help professionals improve the treatment and valorisation of wastewater produced onsite. The research can also help professionals identify technology if a treatment plant requires replacement.

Treating dairy wastewater before it is released into water bodies is a complex process, with biological treatments preferred due to their composition and organic matter content. Activated sludge is one of the most used processes to achieve the required quality levels for discharge.

Dairy wastewater presents more possibilities, as its unique composition can support energy production. Under some conditions, its treatment can also allow for the recovery of water for its re-use. The production of IDF’s new guide supports the dairy sector’s commitment to the adoption of sustainable practices throughout the dairy chain. The guide also provides expertise and resources about wastewater processing and treatment options to the entire dairy supply chain.

“In launching the publication Wastewater Treatment in Dairy Processing, IDF provides the sector with a comprehensive overview of the eco-friendly and innovative wastewater treatment technologies available to the dairy processing sector. We hope that by sharing these examples, we will see increased valorisation of wastewater across the sector, thus driving sustainability and continually improving the environmental impact of the dairy sector,” said Caroline Emond, Director General of IDF.

Wastewater produced through dairy processing can be treated with a number of different technologies. Anaerobic reactors can be used to treat carbon production and produce biogas, with membrane bioreactors and membrane filtration used for treating and producing water for re-use. Already utilised by some dairy plants, these technologies have received positive feedback about their efficacy.