4 Compelling Reasons Food Processors Should Consider a Holistic Approach to Wastewater Treatment

May 29, 2019
David Drew &

Food-processing plants usually engage a water/wastewater consultant for one of two reasons: to address an immediate regulatory issue, such as a notice of violation or consent order, or to address a pressing financial concern, such as skyrocketing surcharge fees or operating costs. An experienced engineering firm that knows the regulatory landscape can successfully address these concerns, working with plant maintenance, production, and sanitation teams to solve the problem at hand.

But going one step further—taking a more holistic approach to addressing wastewater treatment needs—offers additional benefits beyond solving immediate financial or regulatory concerns. Integrating systems and processes and adding treatment and management efficiencies improves operations and lowers costs. By providing a more complete picture of how the various plant production, utilities, and compliance elements can individually and collectively impact water and wastewater management, an engineering partner can provide clients with effective, long-term solutions.

This more comprehensive approach has four major advantages over a one-and-done solution.

It minimizes the risks and uncertainties of future issues.

Identifying the root cause helps prevent a recurrence of the original concern, saving the future cost of addressing it again. A comprehensive approach also engages upper management and brings multiple stakeholders together to focus on optimizing solutions. An effective holistic plan for wastewater treatment provides a clear roadmap for achieving long-term goals.

It facilitates more efficient cost management.

By reducing wastewater treatment needs, a food processor can effectively lower capital costs. As well, by reducing waste streams, it can also lower operations and maintenance costs. A comprehensive approach offers a practical way to manage costs across the board more efficiently, optimizing the use of scarce financial resources.

It encourages decisions for capital improvements to be made in coordination, not in isolation.

A holistic approach to treatment not only improves the return on capital investment through integrated improvements in infrastructure, it also encourages stakeholder buy-in and improves business case acceptance by management.

It supports sustainability goals.

Adding treatment and management efficiencies fosters water and waste reduction and reduces chemical requirements. It also enhances safety, improves the work environment, and helps elevate a food processor’s financial position. In short, a holistic approach to wastewater treatment enables food-processing facilities to achieve triple bottom line success, while addressing their unique wastewater treatment needs.