Report Detail Page

Water efficiency, reuse and recycling

The Australian red meat processing industry is a significant consumer of water. Water is primarily used to ensure food safety and hygiene during operations. Drought and resulting water restrictions have put enormous pressure on processing plants to respond to the challenge and reduce water consumption. The primary source of water on processing sites is raw water. Raw water originates from either mains water, river, dam etc. Raw water does not include recycled or reused water. Raw water is primarily used in the following areas: slaughter, evisceration - including cleaning, stockyard - mostly washdown inedible and edible offal processing casing processing The consumption of raw water has been significantly - by 11% - reduced since 2003 to an average of 9.4kL/tonne hot standard carcass weight.

There is a large variation in the water consumption across sites depending on factors such as:

  • amount of value adding performed

  • number and lengths of processing shifts

  • types and number of animals processed

  • variances of processing equipment and design

The overall water consumption is reduced by recycling and reuse where permitted under stringent food restrictions.

Recycled water: Recycled water is wastewater which has been treated on site and is being returned for non-potable uses such as cattle wash. Due to food safety requirements, a number of sites are unable to recycle water. In particular export sites have to comply with the stringent food export safety regulations which limit extensive water recycling.

Reused water: Reused water is wastewater which is reused within the process before it is sent to treatment. Reuse amounted to approximately 2% of total water usage. Since most water is consumed for food hygiene purposes, it is difficult to reuse large quantities of contaminated water within the meat facility.

Increased efficiency in the water consumption of red meat processing plants does not only result in financial savings, but a reduction in the water usage directly impacts on reduced wastewater volumes, making wastewater treatment and disposal easier and cheaper. This is due to the fact that reduced consumption of water directly leads to reduced energy consumption due to the reduced amount of water that needs to be pumped around the plant and treated.

The Australian Meat Processor Corporation and Meat & Livestock Australia are supporting the red meat processing industry to implement a more efficient water usage by:

  • Reducing consumption through initiatives such as waterless cleaning

  • Increasing reuse / recycling of water through initiatives such as process improvement and tertiary treatment of water

  • Increasing usage of alternative sources such as rainwater and geothermal systems

Examples of successful water saving initiatives implemented in the industry include:

  • implementation of sealing and cryovac machines throughout the plant to capture water for reuse

  • reused water used for yards, washdown, cattle pre-wash, truck washing and other non-potable applications

  • instalation of sensors on hand wash stations and sterilisers

  • hose nozzle size reduction

Downloads

Contracts

Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
P.PIP.0330
Evaluation of a Midell Water Sodium Absorption Ratio Reduction System
12/07/2012 09/01/2014
MDC PIP
A.ENV.0136
Steam Sterilization of Viscera Trays
15/06/2013 21/03/2014
Industry
A.ENV.0137
Tripe Wash Water Reuse
28/05/2012 07/08/2014
Industry
A.ENV.0159
Facilitation of water reuse projects 2012-13
15/11/2012 23/09/2013
Industry
P.PIP.0355
Investigation of the feasibility of implementing Reverse Osmosis at Stanbroke Beef
12/11/2012 01/06/2013
MDC PIP
A.AMP.1443
AMPC Managed Animal Welfare projects
01/07/2013 30/06/2015
Industry
A.ENV.0142
Opportunities of using recycled water for sustainable food production and manufacture
01/05/2012 17/09/2013
Industry
A.ENV.0138
Water Saving In the Cleaning of Carcase Chillers
30/04/2012 11/12/2012
Industry
A.ENV.0139
Hygienic Design Guidelines for Australian Red Meat Processing
01/04/2012 30/06/2013
Industry
A.ENV.0141
Facilitation of water reuse projects
05/12/2011 23/08/2013
Industry
P.PIP.0172
Water Collection and Data Analysis
12/11/2007 03/04/2008
MDC PIP
P.PIP.0141
Churchill Abattoir Large Scale Demonstration Wastewater Recycling Plant
22/08/2006 14/08/2007
MDC PSH
A.ENV.0108
Waterless cleaning initiatives
01/06/2011 30/06/2011
Industry
P.PIP.0058
Optimising integrated water recycling and waste heat recovery in rendering plants and abattoirs
05/04/2004 31/12/2010
MDC PIP
P.PIP.0143
Innovative stock washing system to control cattle cleanliness
01/09/2006 30/06/2009
MDC PSH
P.PSH.0201
Process Integration Study Investigation into Water Use, Salt Discharge a nd Energy Reductions in the Meat Processing and Rendering Sector
01/08/2006 30/06/2007
MDC PSH
P.PSH.0507
WAM5 - Phase 1: Investigation into Innovative Responses to AQIS Meat Notice 2008/06 - Efficient Use of Water in Export Meat Establishments
15/09/2009 07/06/2010
MDC PSH
P.PSH.0411
ACC8 - Feasibility Study - Factory Water Re-Cycle / Re-Use
15/09/2008 28/02/2009
MDC PSH
A.ENV.0081
Visceration Water Reuse
16/04/2009 08/02/2010
Industry
A.ENV.0078
Re-use of steriliser water for contra-shear use and hose down outside rendering
02/03/2009 22/06/2009
Industry
A.ENV.0066
Waterless cleaning of meat processing facilities
01/05/2008 19/12/2009
Industry
A.ENV.0061
Indirect Potable Reuse Knowledge Mining
13/08/2007 15/10/2007
Industry
A.ENV.0046
Use of Alkyl Phenol Ethoxylate (APE) Cleaning Agents and Alternative Options
20/02/2006 31/10/2006
Industry
P.PIP.0459
Feasibility of using alternative storm water treatment technologies and new innovative policy, for sustainably managing contaminated storm water run-off
15/10/2014 12/05/2015
MDC PIP

This page was last updated on 19/09/2018

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