Two operations that consume a lot of water in dairies are cooling and cleaning. Cooling is primarily accomplished using surface water that is returned to natural waterways via a heat exchanger.
Water consumption and waste water
Milk is an easily spoiled ingredient, and hence production hygiene, which is essential to product quality, is maintained through cleaning.
Valio favours Cleaning in Place (CIP) over batch cleaning in its efforts to decrease water consumption, and saves on water and chemicals by optimising process equipment CIP and recycling usable water.
The substantial use of water and the high load caused by product residues ending up in waste water make dairies’ waste water a significant environmental risk.
Valio sites bar one are connected to a municipal waste water purification plant, and especially in small towns Valio’s load is considerable compared with that of the town itself.
Valio used 3.9 million cubic metres of surface water from waterways for process flow cooling in 2014. The company also consumed 5.0 million cubic metres of household water: 4.7 million from municipal waterworks and 0.4 million from its own supply. The consumption of reused water totalled 0.9 million cubic metres in 2014.
The consumption of clean household water increased by 7.5% on the previous year. In 2014, Valio production plants discharged 5.6 million cubic metres of waste water, 8.2% more than in the previous year.
The chemical oxygen demand (COD) describing the amount of organic substances in waste water (10 249 tonnes) was 1.1% down on the previous year.
Cooling and condensation waters were discharged directly to natural waterways. Three plants hold a permit from the water rights court to discharge waters, and one has an environmental permit that includes the option to do so. Obligatory monitoring related to the permits observed no harmful impacts from the discharges in 2014.
Environmental goals 2012–2014
The 2012–2014 environmental program aimed to reduce waste water load and volume in proportion to the quantity of milk taken in. Presenting the figures in proportion to the quantity of milk taken in is an international standard in the dairy industry.
During the period 2012–2014, the goal for waste water load was reached as planned, but the goal for waste water volume was not met. Production related problems at one plant, and the increase in ingredients production towards the end of the period, affected waste water volume.
In order to avoid overlapping figures, energy efficiency improvement was transferred from the environmental system to the development program under the energy efficiency agreement.