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In the dairy industry, water consumption is significant, being the natural resource most used in this sector [ 3 ]. Source: 1 adapted from [ 4 ] and 2 adapted [ 5 ]. The consumption of water is quite variable, related to the size of the dairy, the standardization of activities, reuse practices, the technologies employed, and the type of product produced.

The mean intakes reported for different European and Nordic countries are shown in Table 2. The high consumption of water in the dairy industry is related to the need to maintain sanitary and hygiene conditions and is mainly due to cleaning operations, milk washing, cooling, and steam generation [ 3 ]. This figure was above the other production lines and was well above the figures cited by Maganha [ 3 ] for European and Nordic countries. Looking at the data, it can be observed that consumption can vary widely according to the production lines, as well as the water management practices of the dairy industries, which makes relevant the development of studies referring to better forms of use and reuse of water.

Industrial effluents are liquid streams from processes, operations, and utilities in industries [ 7 ]. It is also possible to consider the currents originated from the processes and operations in which water is used, but there is no incorporation of this in the final product, besides the net part from the raw material that is removed in the industrial processes [ 8 ].

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Industrial effluents vary according to the technologies that are used in the production processes, the values of raw materials and inputs, the age of the industry, and the specialization of the equipment operators, besides the way of operation if it is continuous or intermittent [ 1 ]. The characteristics of the effluents can be biodegradable, similar to sanitary sewage, or completely nonbiodegradable, especially those from industries of metallic products such as electroplating.

The food, paper, and cellulose and sugar-alcohol industries are characterized by the generation of biodegradable effluents rich in organic matter [ 8 ]. In the case of food industries, the dairy industry is characterized by high water consumption and, consequently, high effluent production. Table 3 lists the volumes of effluents generated in the dairy industry, according to the type of product produced. Effluent volume generated per kilogram of milk processed in the different production lines of the dairy industry.

In many cases the generated effluent ends up being released directly into the rivers, contributing to its eutrophication by the phosphorus and nitrogen components present in the effluent. The characteristics of the generated effluents vary widely according to the standard and technologies used in the dairy industry. In general, they present high concentrations of organic matter and considerable amounts of nutrients, suspended solids, organic pollutants, and infective agents, as well as milk residues, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and residues of cleaning agents [ 4 , 10 ].

In addition, Table 4 shows the characteristics for the different parameters of the raw dairy effluent, according to Maganha [ 3 ]. The characteristics of the effluents vary considerably between different activities of milk industrialization. Table 5 shows the generation of BOD in the effluent related to the population equivalent, which can demonstrate the high organic load released in the dairy effluent.

Comparison between the BOD generated in a dairy and population equivalent of the generated organic load. These wastewaters, if disposed of in water resources without adequate treatment, may cause a number of problems, such as the mortality of aquatic species, damage to public health through the consumption of contaminated water, and an increase in the costs of treatment of this resource [ 12 ].

Thus, it is important to use optimized effluent treatment systems that are integrated with the identification of the liquid waste generation points in the production process, so that sustainable production can be achieved [ 4 ].


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The use of water combined with its high consumption in industry has led this segment to seek internal reuse alternatives and to consider the purchase of treated effluents from sanitation companies at prices lower than those of drinking water [ 13 ]. In this sense, Hespanhol [ 14 ] states that one should choose to satisfy those demands that require water of not very high quality by less noble sources and use of sources of superior quality only for nobler uses, such as domestic supply.

In response to such conditions, the development of effluent treatment technologies has increased in order to meet the quality limits for reuse. Thus, reuse waters can become an important contribution to the water supply in the industry [ 6 , 15 , 16 , 17 ]. It is possible to define reuse as the use of the effluent directly or after some treatment steps in other processes, according to the water quality required. Not all of the effluent generated needs to be treated for reuse, but in some cases, there is a need for specific purification treatments [ 18 ].

Membrane Technology and Water Reuse in a Dairy Industry

Reuse can also be conceived as the use of treated or untreated effluents for purposes that are beneficial, such as irrigation, industrial use, and urban purposes that are not potable [ 1 ]. Mierzwa [ 19 ] asserts, however, that the practice of reuse should not be seen as the goal of any model of water resource management in an industry, not meeting the requirements of Agenda 21, which exposes the rational use of water as a goal main.

Some industrial processes, more specifically those of the food industry, do not allow the use of reuse water in their production processes. However, even in these industries, there is the possibility of reusing water in processes that demand less noble water quality, such as for cooling, boiler feed, floor cleaning, and sanitary discharges in toilets, among others.

Due to the existing treatment techniques in the industries, a treated effluent can present similar, or even better, physical, chemical, or biological characteristics than the raw water. In the same way, effluents from certain processes present adequate quality to other processes, without the need for treatment [ 1 ]. In this sense, industrial water reuse can be classified into two broad forms of application, namely, external macro reuse, which refers to the use of treated effluents from stations administered by utilities or other industries, and the internal macro reuse, referring to the internal use of effluents, treated or not, from activities carried out in the industry itself [ 20 ].

One form of reuse that has gained relevance is cascading reuse. This form of reuse is a type of internal macro use, in which the industrial effluent originated in a certain process is directly used in a subsequent process [ 2 ]. It is important to emphasize the need to verify if the water quality of the effluent is adequate for the next process. This type of reuse is the most interesting for the industries, because, just as the amount of water used will decrease, the amount of effluent generated also decreases.

However, the concentration of specific pollutants and pollutants increases with this type of reuse [ 1 ]. In addition, cascade reuse does not require treatment of the effluent, since it is in the appropriate quality to be reused in another process that does not require a high quality, which ends up decreasing the amount spent for the reuse of water. It is the form of reuse that has been most applied in industry and is characterized by the use of the effluents generated in the site in other industrial processes, after adequate treatment to reach the required quality to the usage patterns that were preestablished FIRJAN, According to the water quality required in the process and the specific reuse scope, the effluent treatment levels will be established, in which safety criteria will be adopted, as well as related capital, operating, and maintenance costs [ 14 ].

Due to the techniques that are used in the treatment of effluents in the industries, the treated effluent sometimes has better characteristics than the raw water or may have aspects suitable for its use in certain processes [ 1 ]. The reuse of effluents after treatment can be done directly and after complementary treatment techniques.

Direct reuse is accomplished by routing the treatment plant effluent to the site where it will be used. If there is still a contaminant in this effluent that needs to be eliminated to meet the required quality indices, complementary techniques must be adopted for the treatment and subsequent reuse [ 1 ]. It is also worth mentioning three categories of reuse water for industry that offer great possibilities of reuse: reuse water in cooling towers and lakes, open cycle cooling systems and process, and boiler feed [ 13 ]. Membrane separation processes use synthetic membranes to separate substances and solids that have small diameters, as well as molecules and ionic compounds, through the application of some type of external force.

The external forces used in membrane filtration may be pressure, suction, or even electric potential [ 21 , 22 ]. After the passage of the liquid through the membrane, this happens to be called permeate; what is retained is called concentrated or retentate [ 23 ]. Figure 1 , below, shows the simplified inlet and outlet diagram of the solution in the membrane.

Beth Scanio | Herschell Environmental

Scheme representing the inlet of the liquid, the outlet of the permeate, and the concentrate retentate. Source: Adapted from Mierzwa [23]. Mainly because of the charge for water use and the need to preserve the environment, interest in water reuse has gained relevance.

In this sense, membrane separation processes in the treatment of effluents are presented as one of the most promising technologies, enabling the reuse of water and, consequently, reducing the consumption of good-quality water in processes that do not demand such high quality, optimizing its use in industrial processes [ 16 ]. AB - Conventional water resources in many regions are insufficient to meet the water needs of growing populations, thus reuse is gaining acceptance as a method of water supply augmentation.

A review of polymeric membranes and processes for potable water reuse David M. Chemical and Environmental Engineering. Abstract Conventional water resources in many regions are insufficient to meet the water needs of growing populations, thus reuse is gaining acceptance as a method of water supply augmentation. Fingerprint potable water. Polymeric membranes. Potable water. Drinking Water.

Membrane technology. Membrane fouling. Lienhard, J. Progress in Polymer Science. Bell, E. Evaluation of forward osmosis membrane performance and fouling during long-term osmotic membrane bioreactor study. Qiu, G. Towards high through-put biological treatment of municipal wastewater and enhanced phosphorus recovery using a hybrid microfiltration-forward osmosis membrane bioreactor with hydraulic retention time in sub-hour level.

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Boo, C. Colloidal fouling in forward osmosis: role of reverse salt diffusion. Bowden, K. Organic ionic salt draw solutions for osmotic membrane bioreactors. The role of forward osmosis and microfiltration in an integrated osmotic-microfiltration membrane bioreactor system. Chemosphere , — Long-term pilot scale investigation of novel hybrid ultrafiltration-osmotic membrane bioreactors. Desalination , 64—74 Chemical engineering journal Membrane fouling and process performance of forward osmosis membranes on activated sludge.

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Osmotic membrane bioreactor OMBR technology for wastewater treatment and reclamation: advances, challenges, and prospects for the future. Fouling and cleaning of high permeability forward osmosis membranes. Water Process Eng. Le Clech, P. Critical flux determination by the flux-step method in a submerged membrane bioreactor. Field, R. Critical flux concept for microfiltration fouling. Pressure enhanced fouling and adapted anti-fouling strategy in pressure assisted osmosis PAO.

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Membrane Processes For Water Reuse

Recent developments and future challenges of forward osmosis for desalination: A review. Water Treat. De la torre, T. Download references.

The writing of this manuscript was led by G. All co-authors have made substantial contributions in the design, writing and successive revisions of the manuscript. Correspondence to Gaetan Blandin. Reprints and Permissions. Environmental Science and Pollution Research Article metrics. Advanced search. Skip to main content. Subjects Chemical engineering Pollution remediation Water resources.

Abstract A growing emphasis on water recycling resulted in intense research activity, aiming to develop and validate reliable and high-quality water treatment processes at lowest cost. Introduction: Water reuse context The World Health Organisation and the United Nations have identified wastewater reuse as a key solution to the problem of water scarcity and associated food-related issues and to improper wastewater disposal. Where can osmotic membrane bioreactor be implemented in water reuse trains?

Full size image. What are the necessary OMBR improvements for implementation? Developing OMBR modules Many types of OMBR designs can be envisioned in term of 1 membrane types hollow fibre HF , flat-sheet, tubular , 2 arrangement in modules and 3 process configurations submerged or side stream. Tackling the salinity build-up Salt accumulation in the OMBR tank, resulting from both the high rejection of dissolved solids from the wastewater by the membrane and the reverse salt diffusion RSD occurring in the FO process remains a main challenge for OMBR.

Fouling mitigation and cleaning Creating turbulence at the membrane surface either through aeration air scouring for submerged systems or through higher cross flow velocities for side stream modules has proven to be efficient for fouling mitigation in FO and MBR systems. Opportunities, technological advantages and challenges for OMBR. Additional information Publisher's note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.