Water treatment (incoming process water)
|Field of application|
ObjectiveThe water used by food factories may be city water, groundwater or surface water. The type of water used depends on the application. When it is feasible to do so, and it will not affect food safety, water is recycled and re-used, after prior appropriate purification treatment, for specific process applications, e.g. washing, cleaning, make-up for utilities, and, exceptionally, for the process itself. Water treatment is used to provide the requisite quality of water to a variety of different processes, many of which have their own individual technical requirements.
Field of applicationTreated water is used in the food industry for:
- human consumption
- food processing, for which a differentiation is made between the process water intended to come into contact with foodstuffs at any step of the process, and the water used as thermal fluid for heating or cooling
- plant cleaning
- washing of raw materials
- fire fighting and industrial services, e.g. boilers, cooling circuits, refrigeration, chillers, air conditioning and heating.
The pretreatment required to produce safe water quality depends very much on the water source and its analysis. There is no general rule. A minimum pretreatment concept involves water filtering, disinfecting and storage, but depending on the water requirements may also include de-ironing, desilication, or active carbon filtering. Pretreated potable water is pumped from the storage tank and distributed through the factory piping-network to the users. Additional treatment, such as softening, dealkalising, demineralising or chlorinating water, will be needed for usage in specific food processes or utilities. Ion exchangers or membrane filtration processes are the most common techniques used for this purpose.