Water use and Wastewater

water use

Water plays an essential role in cleaning facilities and equipment in food production plants, and in maintaining production hygiene. Only a small fraction of the total water consumption is used in manufacturing the products. HKScan measures and optimises the consumption of water used at it production plants, without compromising food safety.

HKScan’s water consumption increased by 0.4 per cent from 2016 to 2017. Water consumption in Finland increased due to the Rauma production plant coming online, and its partial overlap with the Eura plant. The water consumption of the production plants in Sweden, Denmark and Estonia decreased, and the other Finnish production plants followed the same trend. In Finland, water consumption decreased by six per cent. Over the last five years, HKScan has reduced its overall water consumption by 11 per cent.

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Wastewater

Wastewater from manufacturing processes in the food industry includes organic substances and detergent residues. Wastewater treatment is carried out by a municipal wastewater treatment plant, the company’s own wastewater treatment plant, or through cooperation between the municipality and the company. Environmental permits that are granted to each specific production facility set the limit values for emissions, with the aim of minimising the environmental impact of the business operations. HKScan’s goal is to ensure that wastewater treatment levels meet, or even fall below, the limit values required by the environmental permits.

The treatment of wastewater in 2017 was generally good. Thanks to HKScan’s self-monitoring, isolated deviations from the requirements of the environmental permits were detected at an early stage. All deviations were investigated, and the necessary improvements have been made.

Environmental deviation

In June 2017, a human error at the production plant in Vantaa, Finland caused washing water to be released into the rainwater drainage system. As a container was being washed, the cream in it flowed into the storm-water inlet instead of the wastewater drain. The error resulted from incorrect drain installation. The incident was investigated, and the drain in question was shut off immediately. In light of the error, a decision was made to invest in equipment for measuring the quality of storm water at the production plant to prevent similar incidents in future. The event did not endanger the environment or people.

Examples

1. In Linköping, Sweden water consumption was reduced by about 15 per cent during the year after adopting the new water-cooling and washing process control system.

2. At the Vantaa plant, in Finland, a suggestion by an employee for increasing the efficiency of machine use enabled water consumption to be cut by hundreds of cubic metres a year.

3. At the Rakvere pork production plant in Estonia, a project was set up with the aim of developing a process for thoroughly cleaning production areas between different breeding batches. The goal is to improve hygiene, while at the same time reducing water consumption. The effects on water consumption will be visible during 2018.

4. At the Rakvere unit also a two per cent reduction in water consumption was brought about by changing the water softeners in the steam boiler.

5. At the Tabasalu production plant in Estonia, the adoption of a new cooling water recycling system resulted in a two per cent reduction in water consumption.

6. In Latvia a water treatment plant was installed in 2017. A water softener was installed to the water-refilling unit, which was installed six years ago. The reagent is a salt tablet.

7. At the Linköping production facility in Sweden, the process of handling manure in the slaughterhouse was changed. The new process allows all the wastewater created in the production process to be cleaned in its own purification plant before being transferred to the municipal wastewater treatment plant.

8. At the Polish production plant, the amount of wastewater generated has been reduced by installing a brine filter.

9. In Finland, a new modern wastewater treatment system was installed in the new Rauma plant. The system is based on continuously controllable, double-line, mechanical-chemical separation of solids. The system has replaced the water treatment system used at the Eura plant.