Fish processing wastewater treatment

Wastewater produced during the catching and processing of fish and seafood is highly contaminated with a variety of pollutants including fats, oil, proteins, suspended solids and nitrogen. Wastewater is produced at all stages of fish processing, from stunning, bleeding, gutting, and filleting, to smoking, packaging, and transporting. A customised fish processing wastewater treatment solution must be designed for each company. 

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On this page you will find all the information you need to plan, design, and procure a fish processing wastewater treatment solution for your processing facility. First and foremost, it is necessary to understand the composition of the wastewater, which influences the treatment options. In addition, we will explain the key considerations you must use when planning and ordering a wastewater treatment plant. 

When processing fish, there are different end products for which there are different production processes. For example, fresh fish, frozen fish fillets, canned fish, salads with fish content or seafood. There are often very different types of wastewaters generated with each production type. We can tailor our solutions for each specific application and wastewater type. 

Depending on the design of your fish processing wastewater treatment plant, you can reuse the wastewater in your company, discharge it directly into the environment or discharge indirectly via a municipal wastewater treatment plant. 

wastewater treatment solution for dairy

Installation of modular biological wastewater treatment unit

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We support you in every step of the planning process. So, if you are planning the optimisation of an existing plant, the construction of a new production facility or the expansion of an existing production facility, we have the right concept for your fish processing wastewater treatment plant. 

We are happy to help you with a no obligation consultation. Please contact us! Our team of experts is happy to assist with any question or query. 

Sources and characteristics of wastewater from fish processing

Fish processing wastewater treatment

There are several sources of wastewater from the fish processing industry: 

  • Production: Water and chemicals are used in the processing of fish. This contains waste from production, blood, fats, and cleaning agents. 
  • Storage and transport: Fish must always be stored and transported in a cool place. After cleaning the refrigeration equipment and transporters, the wastewater consists mainly of cleaning agents and other chemicals as well as refrigerants. 
  • Machine and building cleaning (CIP): When cleaning work surfaces and processing machines, blood, fat, and scale residues as well as cleaning chemicals are the main components of the wastewater. 

Fish processing companies usually produce various fish products in one manufacturing factory. These include: 

  • Fresh fish 
  • Fish fillets 
  • Smoked fish 
  • Canned fish 
  • Fish salads 
  • Baked fish / breaded fish 
fish processing wastewater treatment plant

The demand for fish products is rising steadily. On average, global fish consumption is increasing by about one percent per year. At the same time, the rate of deep-sea fishing has remained constant. Fish farming in aquacultures, on the other hand, has increased. However, this is not limited to coastal areas, but also to domestic fish farms. These can run the water in a closed circuit. 

No matter what type of wastewater you produce, it is important to know its composition to choose the optimal treatment method. Incorrect planning can result in a system that does not operate correctly and that does not produce compliant wastewater.

We work closely with each customer to design an optimal treatment system. This means we can provide our customers with a 100% process guarantee for wastewater treatment compliance. 

The table below gives you an overview of the composition of the typical wastewater from fish processing companies. 

Typical fish processing wastewater

Typical wastewater from fish processing companies

Options for fish processing wastewater treatment 

fish processing wastewater treatment

In fish processing companies, there are three ways to deal with wastewater: Pre-treatment with discharge to the sewer system, treatment with direct discharge to the environment, and treatment for partial reuse. 

The discharge it into the public sewer system requires a permit from the regional authority. The wastewater then reaches a municipal sewage treatment plant where it is treated for discharge into a public body of water. For fish processing companies, it is necessary to pre-treat the wastewater. The more thorough the pre-treatment, the lower the discharge fees if you pay based on pollution loads.

Screening is the typical first step, to sieve coarse impurities such as bones, scales or, more rarely, innards, heads or fins out of the wastewater. With optimised dissolved air flotation, suspended matter, blood components, and oils and fats can be removed from the wastewater. Our flotation plants, which we have developed specifically for use in the food and beverage industry, efficiently reduce COD and BOD5, making them ideal for use in fish processing companies.

Another option is direct discharge into the environment. In this situation treated wastewater is used for irrigation or discharged directly into the sea or another water body. 

fish idustry, Fish processing wastewater treatment

Ask us which process technology is best for your fish processing company

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Discharge into the environment requires a higher level of treatment to protect the environment. To achieve the specified effluent values, a multi-stage treatment is usually necessary. This consists of pre-treatment, dissolved air flotation and biological treatment using fixed-bed technology. In addition, we offer P-precipitation as well as filtration by reverse osmosis. This allows us to achieve any desired cleaning result. 

The third option is the treatment for partial reuse. There are different ways to reuse the treated wastewater. The largest areas of application are cooling and cleaning. 

It is crucial that you choose the right process to get an optimised wastewater treatment solution with low OPEX and CAPEX. 

Planning and purchasing a wastewater treatment plant for fish processing companies 

You have now comprehensively informed yourself about the sources and characteristics of your wastewater. Now it is important that you consider the appropriate solutions to ensure treatment according to your site-specific requirements.  

We support you every step of the way. We accompany you from your initial enquiry through to proposal preparation, technical reviews, supply, installation, and commissioning. In addition, we work closely with you and are always available to answer any questions. 

ClearFox FBBR wastewater treatment solution

Aeration process in an FBBR reactor

Our systems are modular and can therefore be adapted to any type of wastewater. We place particular emphasis on: 

  • Small footprint 
  • High cleaning efficiency up to 99% 
  • Wastewater reuse 
  • Low energy consumption 
  • Low maintenance requirements 
  • Short wastewater paths into the treatment plant 
  • Automatic operation with remote monitoring 
  • Quick installation on site 
  • Customer satisfaction 

All modules can be installed in containers or mounted on racks. On request, selected modules can also be installed underground. Our systems integrate directly into the production lines and CIP systems. If you only have a very small space availability, our modular solutions are suitable for installation outside of your production halls. For short term requirements we also have some systems available to lease.

We have already worked with numerous fish processing companies worldwide. We therefore have extensive knowledge in this area. As each fish processing company has its own wastewater, we design each solution according to the customer’s needs to achieve an optimal cleaning result. We have an in-house laboratory where we analyse wastewater samples from your company. We can then select the best treatment technology for you. 

All process steps suitable for fish processing wastewater treatment are independently tested and certified. We work closely with PIA GmbH, a leading global wastewater treatment testing facility, which always certifies our systems as having outstanding purification performance. These include the ClearFox® DAF (dissolved air flotation) and the ClearFox® FBBR process (fixed bed biological reactor). Both technologies are ideally suited for fish processing wastewater treatment. 

We also have a service team that can carry out installations and maintenance work worldwide. So, you can be sure that your treatment plant will operate efficiently and effectively. 

Below you will find more information to consider when planning and purchasing a fish processing wastewater treatment plant. 

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