Food and Beverage Industry

The food and beverage sector produces a significant amount of wastewater from process water used in manufacturing and from clean in place (CIP) activities. Depending on the application, the amount, pollutant loading and profile of the industrial wastewater can vary significantly. ClearFox® are specialists in the design and manufacture of plug and play modular solutions for all food and beverage processing wastewater. Our technical ability and experience make us the best choice for your project. We provide complete turnkey solutions for flowrates between 1 m³/hr to 400 m³/hr.


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ClearFox® is specialised in the design and manufacture of plug and play modular solutions for all food processing wastewater. Our technical ability and experience make us the best choice for your project. We have a range of process technologies that can be combined in a modular arrangement to deal with any type of food and beverage processing wastewater. These include pre-treatment, dissolved air flotation, biological treatment, clarifiers and disinfection. We can also incorporate ultrafiltration to allow the wastewater to be recycled and used as process water. ClearFox® can provide a cost effective modular solution for dealing with any wastewater flow, any wastewater type and can meet and environmental compliance standards for the final effluent.

food and beverage screen pressClearFox® modular food and beverage industrial wastewater solutions have the following advantages:

  • Low operation costs
  • Modular
  • Automatic operation
  • Low purchase price
  • Process and effluent guarantees

The three major categories according to their origin and composition are:

  1. Processing water: Processing water is formed in the in special coolers and condensers, as well as condensates from evaporation. In general, processing waters lack pollutants and, after minimal pretreatment, they can be reused or discharged together with stormwater. Water reuse is possible, typical applications are hot water and steam production as well as membrane cleaning.
  2. Cleaning wastewater: Cleaning wastewater usually comes from washing equipment which is in direct contact with the products manufactured. It also includes spillage, CIP effluents or wastewater from equipment malfunction and even operational errors. Over 90% of organic solids in effluents come from manufacturing residues. These effluents are produced in large quantities and are highly polluted, thus requiring further treatment.
  3. Sanitary wastewater: Sanitary wastewater is produced from factory staff using toilets, shower rooms, etc. Sanitary wastewater is similar in composition to municipal wastewater and is generally piped directly to the sewer, but it can be used as a nitrogen source for unbalanced effluents before a secondary aerobic treatment.


The challenges for each specific type of food and beverage wastewater are different. But some issues in key sectors are discussed below. With the correct process technology selection, any wastewater can be treated effectively and efficiently.

abattoir solution Meat hooks hanging in a slaughterhouse.

Meat and poultry processing

Meat processing wastewater quality depends on water usage, the type of animal slaughtered and the amount of rendering or processing that is done on site. This industry includes abattoirs, slaughterhouses, meat packing companies and smaller butchers. Two distinct categories exist: red meat, which includes the processing of beef, mutton and pork, and white meat, for processing poultry. The wastewater contains high levels of blood, product remains and fats resulting in highly contaminated wastewater, which is often additionally contaminated by the delivery and intermediate holding of the animals for slaughter.

Wastewater composition:

The composition of wastewater from the meat processing industry is characterized by straw and saw dust, along with high concentrations of blood, fat and grease, animal body tissue (offal), animal trimmings, urine and faecal matter, as well as emitting smells. Each of these contributes to a high organic load as well as a considerable quantity of suspended matter.

Wastewater characteristics:

The characteristics and volume of wastewater discharged from meat processing factories vary with the products and production procedures. Water plays a key role in meat processing. It is used in every step of the production lines, including cleaning and washing, disinfection, heating and cooling. Water requirements are very large. 

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fish industryFish processing

Fishing processing wastewater is highly contaminated. The degree of pollution of the wastewater depends on several parameters. The most important are the type of operation being carried out, the fish species being processed and the operating routine in the factory.

Examples are: fresh fish processing, delicatessen processing (crayfish, crabs, calamari, oysters etc) freezing process, salmon substitute production and canning.

Wastewater composition:

In general, the wastewater contamination fluctuates, with a high percentage of organic material (undissolved remains, grease, cooking oils, proteins, spices, vegetables, as well as sugar, vinegar) and with high concentration of salt, chlorine, cleaning, colouring and disinfection agents.

Processing effluents have high amounts of contaminants such as TSS, biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), fat, oil and grease (FOG) as well as nitrogen and phosphorus.

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diary industryDairy industry

The dairy industry includes the transformation of raw milk into pasteurized and sour milk, yoghurt, hard, soft and cottage cheese, cream and butter products, ice cream, milk and whey powders, lactose, condensed milk, as well as various types of desserts.

In this industry, the wastewater differs significantly due to the different compositions of the product manufactured and the processes used. Dairy effluents are distinguished by their high organic content, low nutrient value, relatively high temperatures, wide pH range and presence of disinfectants. This requires special purification and treatment steps in order to reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of wastewater discharges.

Dairy wastewater composition:

Milk processing effluents have a high temperature and large variations in pH, TSS, biological oxygen demand (BOD), COD, total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP) and fat, oil and grease (FOG).

Wastewater Characteristics:

Water plays a key role in milk processing. It is used in every step of the process lines, including cleaning, washing, disinfection, heating and cooling. Water requirements are significant . In dairy factories, the fluctuations in wastewater quality and quantity are very problematic because each milk product needs a separate process line. 

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distillery industryDistilleries

Distilleries can be categorized as highly polluting industries generating large volumes of wastewater known as spent wash. Elimination of pollutants and colour from distillery effluent is becoming increasingly important, as such effluent leads to extensive soil and water pollution due to its high BOD and COD content and the presence of toxic materials such as phenolic compounds.

Distillery wastewater can also have a very low pH. Distilleries generate wastewater at various stages in the process, such as distillation, condenser cooling, fermenter cooling, fermentation and washing stages. The most significant amounts of this effluent is produced at distillation and condenser cooling stages. The characteristics of the wastewater generated depend on the feed stock used.

Distilleries are agro-based industries, which utilize agricultural products such as sugar cane juice, sugar cane molasses, sugar beet molasses, corn, wheat, cassava, rice, barley as raw materials due to the big volume of effluent and presence of certain recalcitrant compounds, the treatment of this stream is rather challenging by conventional methods.

Wastewater composition:

Distillery effluent is characterized by dark brown color, acidic pH, high temperature, low dissolved oxygen (DO), high biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) Raw distillery wastewater has the characteristics such as pH 4.0–4.6; chemical oxygen demand 85,000–110,000 ppm; total dissolved solids 85,000–110,000 ppm and biological oxygen demand 25,000–35,000 ppm. Distillery effluent also contains significant amount of phenols (7,202 mg/L), chlorides (7,997 mg/L), sulphates (1,100 mg/L), nitrates, phosphates (1,625 mg/L) and heavy metals.

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winery processingWinery

Winery wastewater management is important to the business and environmental performance of a winery. Wastewater loads vary seasonally with high fluctuation and peaks followed by long lull periods.

During these lull periods, the wastewater can be highly contaminated and due to the poor nutrient situation, often only treatable with additional measures.

Wastewater composition:

The composition of wastewater from wineries is characterized by unused grapes and juice, winemaking remnants such as alcohol and sugars, inorganic salts, organic compounds, yeast, bacteria and chemicals such as cleaning agents.

Wastewater Characteristics:

The Wastewater characteristics vary from winery to winery and are significantly influenced by climate and wine type produced. Unique characteristics are the “high-strength” winery process wastewater (i.e. having more than 7,000 mg/L of BOD, with a TSS of over 3,000 mg/L).

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Over the past 20 years, the ClearFox® Team has successfully designed many turnkey industrial wastewater treatment systems all over Europe. This means that we understand food and beverage wastewater, and we can design the most efficient solutions.  All process equipment is manufactured by ClearFox® in Germany. These include:

Food and beverage wastewater varies significantly from application to application. The wide range of concentrations of BOD, COD, TSS, FOGs and other contaminants can require multiple process steps to achieve high treatment standards and to permit wastewater reuse.

ClearFox® manufactures all process steps in house. From dissolved air flotation systems, to biological FBR modules and SBR systems. Whether it is just pretreatment with a DAF for discharge of final effluent to a public sewer, or physical, chemical and biological treatment for reuse or discharge to the environment/irrigation, we can offer a cost effective and reliable solution.

ClearFox® modular industrial wastewater solutions have the following advantages:

  • Low operation costs
  • Modular
  • Automatic operation
  • Low purchase price
  • Process and effluent guarantees
  • CE marked
  • Designed to DWA design standards
  • International shipping and setup

Read More about ClearFox® Food & Beverage Projects

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