The World Bank

Dairy Industry Industry - Pollution Prevention Guidelines


Courtesy of The World Bank


Pollution Prevention Guidelines to provide technical advice and guidance to staff and consultants involved in pollution-related projects. The guidelines represent state-of-the-art thinking on how to reduce pollution emissions from the production process. In many cases, the guidelines provide numerical targets for reducing pollution, as well as maximum emissions levels that are normally achievable through a combination of cleaner production and end-of-pipe treatment. The guidelines are designed to protect human health; reduce mass loadings to the environment; draw on commercially proven technologies; be cost-effective; follow current regulatory trends; and promote good industrial practices, which offer greater productivity and increased energy efficiency.

Table of Contents

  • Industry Description and Practices
  • Waste Characteristics
  • Pollution Prevention and Control
  • Target Pollution Loads
  • Treatment Technologies
  • Emissions Guidelines
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Key Issues
  • Sources

Industry Description and Practices

The dairy industry involves processing raw milk into products such as consumer milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, condensed milk, dried milk (milk powder), and ice cream, using processes such as chilling, pasteurization, and homogenization. Typical by-products include buttermilk, whey, and their derivatives.

Waste Characteristics

Dairy effluents contain dissolved sugars and proteins, fats, and possibly residues of additives. The key parameters are biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), with an average ranging from 0.8 to 2.5 kilograms per metric ton (kg/t) of milk in the untreated effluent; chemical oxygen demand (COD), which is normally about 1.5 times the BOD level; total suspended solids, at 100ā€“1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/l); total dissolved solids: phosphorus (10ā€“100 mg/l), and nitrogen (about 6% of the BOD level). Cream, butter, cheese, and whey production are major sources of BOD in wastewater. The waste load equivalents of specific milk constituents are: 1 kg of milk fat = 3 kg COD; 1 kg of lactose = 1.13 kg COD; and 1 kg protein = 1.36 kg COD. The wastewater may contain pathogens from contaminated materials or production processes. A dairy often generates odors and, in some cases, dust, which need to be controlled. Most of the solid wastes can be processed into other products and byproducts.

Pollution Prevention and Control

Good pollution prevention practices in the dairy industry include:

  • Reduction of product losses by better production control.
  • Use of disposable packaging (or bulk dispensing of milk) instead of bottles where feasible.
  • Collection of waste product for use in lowergrade products such as animal feed where this is feasible without exceeding cattle feed quality limits.
  • Optimization of use of water and cleaning chemicals; recirculation of cooling waters.
  • Segregation of effluents from sanitary installations, processing, and cooling (including condensation) systems; this facilitates recycling of wastewater.
  • Use of condensates instead of fresh water for cleaning.
  • Recovery of energy by using heat exchangers for cooling and condensing.
  • Use of high-pressure nozzles to minimize water usage.
  • Avoidance of the use of phosphorus-based cleaning agents.

Continuous sampling and measuring of key production parameters allow production losses to be identified and reduced, thus reducing the waste load. Table 1 presents product losses for a well-run dairy.
Odor problems can usually be prevented with good hygiene and storage practices. Chlorinated fluorocarbons should not be used in the refrigeration system.

Target Pollution Loads

Since the pollutants generated by the industry are very largely losses in production, improvements in production efficiency (as described in the previous section) are recommended to reduce pollutant loads.

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