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Fish canning plant. (Photo: Anfaco-Cecopesca)

New eco-efficient technology to reduce canning industry pollution

Click on the flag for more information about Spain SPAIN
Friday, October 21, 2016, 03:30 (GMT + 9)

A group of Basque fish canneries, Bilbao Bizkaia Water Consortium, Basque Water Agency (URA) and AZTI will work together to solve the problems generated by discharges of food SMEs and, in a controlled manner, integrate their wastewater in the urban sanitation system.

The initiative, which is part of the European project LIFE VERTALIM and is co-funded by the URA, is led by the Bilbao Bizkaia Water Consortium and coordinated by AZTI. Besides, CEIT-IK4, and the canneries Aguirreoa, Guenaga, Heisa and Marmar will also participate.

The project test demonstration will take place in the area of ​​Lea-Artibai, with a strong industry presence of the canning sector, whose discharges constitute a major impact on the residual water treatment plant (EDAR) of Ondarroa, managed by Bilbao Bizkaia Water Consortium.

The project partners will try to alleviate the problem of the impact caused by discharges into the sewer from fish canning companies. The main characteristic of these effluents is its high organic load, oil, fat and salt. This greatly hinders proper management, causing operational problems in EDAR due to inhibition of the biological treatment of the wastewater plant if all the companies in a given area carry out the discharge simultaneously.

The project seeks to solve the problems associated with discharges of small food businesses in an urban water treatment plant in a holistic manner, with the following objectives:

  • Waste minimization at source in the canning companies, implementing eco-efficient production techniques minimizing the discharge volume and the pollutant load discharged into the collector. 
  • Modelling the operation of the Collector Network and EDAR in different discharge scenarios. 
  • Implementation of a remote management system in the sewage network that will make it possible to carry out the remote and smart management of different urban and industrial discharges.

AZTI stresses that the implementation of this investment will increase the efficiency and productivity of enterprises, and at the same time, reducing the pressure on water sanitation infrastructure, optimizing the operation of urban EDARs.

According to the technology centre, it is a good demonstration of minimization at source and the secure integration of wastewater of SMEs in the food sector in the urban sanitation system without damage to the sewer system and the wastewater treatment plant, and will serve as an example for other European regions with the same problem.

Among the benefits expected from the implementation of technological solutions it is emphasized the removal at source of 30 per cent of discharges from canneries in the environment, reducing 10 per cent of food loss and increasing productivity at 1 per cent, thus making it possible for the processing sector to become more competitive and sustainable.

In addition, for Bilbao Bizkaia Water Consortium it will imply the validation on an industrial scale of a control system in real time that allows the optimization of organic fillers and salt in an urban waste water treatment plant, ensuring that the treated effluent is discharged properly to the natural environment.

AZTI emphasizes that one of the key aspects is that it has managed to bring all those involved in this problem together: canning companies, management firms and water authorities to achieve a comprehensive solution making it possible for them to jointly address a sustainable management of a limited resource such as water.


Photo Courtesy of FIS Member  ANFACO-CECOPESCA - Asociacion Nacional de Fabricantes de Conservas de Pescados y Mariscos-

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