How Does Dairy Industry Cause Water Pollution

Dairy Industry Causes Water Pollution

From the beginning, milk was considered one of the greatest sources of vital nutrients out of all other food products. With rapid industrialization, the dairy industry is expanding at about 4.2 percent annually since 2000. Because of this, there is a rise in water pollution as well. According to the article by The Hindu, around 2,700 dairy farms in Delhi received notices for directly discharging wastewater in the water body. Worsening water quality mixed with expanding poverty could lead to a serious humanitarian crisis.

Before we explore some methods to mitigate this, let’s understand the dairy industry, the effluents released by these dairy processing units and their environmental impact.

Understanding Food Industry In India

The fastest growing industry in India is the food industry sector. According to MOFPI, the Indian food processing industry accounts for 32 per cent of the country’s total food market, one of the largest industries in India and is ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export and expected growth.

India ranks first in milk production, contributing 23 percent to global milk production. Milk production in the country has grown at a compound annual growth rate of about 6.2 percent to reach 209.96 mn tonnes in 2020-21 from 146.31 mn tonnes in 2014-15 (Data Source: investindia.gov.in). 14.8 percent growth is expected by FY 2023 in the milk processing industry. However, even though the dairy industry has made a significant contribution to the nation’s economy, is it equally contributing towards a rise in water pollution?

Impact Of Dairy Industry On Water

The dairy industry is the largest polluter of water generating an estimate of 2.5 to 3 litres of wastewater for every litre of milk processed. Water is a critical resource in milk processing units and is used for various purposes such as cleaning, washing, disinfection, cooling and heating. The wastewater released emerges spillage from leakages, overflows of cans, and products like whey. As a result, it produces high BOD and COD loads.

The efficiency of wastewater treatment management for dairy industries is based on the daily volumetric loading and flow rates. However, it becomes complicated as each milk product requires separate technological cues, resulting in regular effluent composition change.

Characteristics Of Dairy Wastewater

The dairy industry contributes to producing large volumes of industrial wastewater containing high organic load that cannot be eliminated easily. The wastewater released by the industry is generally white or yellow. It has high organic content, such as high levels of carbohydrates and proteins compared to the other food industry effluent. The organic compounds such as lactose, whey proteins, nutrients and fats cause foul odour, provoking distress in the degradation stage.

Usually, the effluents have high COD BOD levels along with TSS levels. The characteristics of dairy effluents depend on an industrial scale, processing types, process parameters, type of operation, type of water discharged and many others. Dairy effluent remains one of the primary causes of water pollution because of an enormous amount of organic load, one of the best sources of nutrients for bacteria, algae, and fungi.

Environmental Effects of Dairy Wastewater

The dairy effluents are responsible for causing foul odour and turbidity in the water. The organic concentration present in the effluent becomes toxic for the aquatic ecosystem. Casein is one of the main compounds released from the dairy industry. When subjected to degradation, it turns into highly foul-smelling black coloured waste. This can even cause the death of aquatic organisms. When mixed with freshwater sources, the effluent can cause hormonal imbalance in marine lives and human beings.

It is essential to treat the wastewater before releasing it to avoid eutrophication and oxygen depletion in the marine environment. The biological wastewater treatment method can be used to treat wastewater well. Rather than opting for harsh chemicals to treat the effluent, healthy microbial strains can help in treating the effluent without causing any harm to the environment.

Bioremediation of Dairy Industrial Wastewater

Our product Cleanmaxx FOG is used in dairy industries that generate a large amount of fats, grease and oil.  FOGs decrease oxygen permeability as a result it reduces biomass build-up and performance. If it enters the environment untreated, the organic matter can build up and cause aquatic life mortality. Cleanmaxx FOG contains a consortium of high enzyme-producing microbes that decomposes fats, oils and grease. It helps reduce sludge volumes, scum formation, and high COD/BOD levels are controlled, curbing odour and decolourising water. This microbial consortium is an effective and economical biological solution to treat dairy industry wastewater.

The dairy industry has a significant, detrimental impact on rivers and ecosystems. It also harms human and animal communities that rely on them as a source of drinking water. It is time for industries and organizations to take action and be accountable for the waste generated at their plants, by evaluating cost-effective, sustainable, easily accessible and completely natural solutions like ours.

Reach out to us today and let our experts provide you with a customized solution to maintain your dairy plant without any additional costs!

Also Read : Understanding Different Wastewater Treatment Plants

Post by Karen Sam

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