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Rollercoaster Ride to Green for Major Food Industry Manufacturer

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‘Green’ is one of the defining business, political, and social issues of the 21st century. The dairy industry, particularly in the production of milk products, often produces a significant quantity of effluents which contain high concentrations of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and total suspended solids (TSS). In March of 2008, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (LACSD) notified several Southern California industrial wastewater dischargers of a pending rate increase to their existing sewer surcharge costs that would be implemented over the following three years.

As a LACSD industrial wastewater discharge permit holder with a relatively high volume of effluent, our case company was aware of the rate increase and potential cost implications. Our case company, hereafter referred to as ‘The Company’, proactively responded by identifying and implementing ways to improve their environmental compliance framework. The sewer surcharge rate increase in Southern California became a catalyst for Green initiatives at a number of The Company's domestic supply plants. Specifically, The Company focused on improving the management of process wastewater, and limiting production of waste at several facilities.

The goal of the project has been to identify and execute opportunities for sustainable, cost–saving best management practices (BMPs) for dairy plants. The primary objective was to focus onaddressing wastewater management at Company facilities while achieving full compliance with effluent limits, and exploring possibilities for process water reuse. The approach that The Company developed with respect to implementing wastewater treatment strategies is well aligned with sustainability and water conservation, employing elements of ‘Green’ solutions. This alignment provided benefits to the financial performance of individual Company facilities, and to the surrounding community.

Keywords: BOD; FOG; Integrated Environmental Compliance; MBR; Sustainability; pH

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

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