Another critical challenge food & beverage manufacturers deal with every day that also impacts the municipality they exist in, is water conservation and wastewater management. Snack Food Company Snyder's-Lance, which I visited recently in Charlotte, NC has their own wastewater treatment plant to pre-treat the effluent, or wastewater, that results from food and beverage production so the municipal system is not over-burdened. If this pre-treatment did not happen, the local wastewater treatment system could be compromised. Beverage company Sunny Delight is another CPG manufacturer focused on this: its CEO Billy Cyr spoke passionately on the topic of water conservation at a sustainability session during the GMA Executive Conference, and the company’s sustainability report states the following:
“While water reduction and conservation are important internally, we also are committed to protecting bodies of water and ecosystems surrounding our facilities. In some communities and ecosystems bordering our sites, water is a very valuable and, at times, scarce resource. SDBC is mindful of this and only withdraws water from municipal supplies and water tables that have an adequate supply to support the surrounding water demand and ecosystems.
In addition to decreasing water usage and carefully considering water sources, we closely monitor the quality of our wastewater discharge. This discharge results from operational equipment, such as cooling towers, boilers and water conditioners, as well as from the daily processes of equipment cleaning and sterilization. Each facility balances the pH of its wastewater prior to discharge to the local water treatment facilities. Only our Littleton, Massachusetts plant treats and discharges wastewater directly to open surface water. The site ensures the quality of its wastewater through a comprehensive treatment process and monitors the characteristics and frequency of its discharges.”
At Siemens, we work with food & beverage companies to address these problems. One such example is the Khon Kaen brewery in Thailand, which worked with Siemens for their wastewater management solution. 6,000 cubic meters of biogas/day is used as a supplementary fuel in the plant boiler system. Please see the video below for this story.