Water Management Winner: ABP Food Group
The abattoir and meat-processing sector is extremely water intensive. On average ABP uses between 1,000 - 3,000 litres of water to process one carcass. Armed with this knowledge, ABP has managed to reduce its average water use per carcass to 350 - 400 litres at its new Sturminster Newton plant
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The installation of a reverse osmosis system, which produces potable water from the existing treated waste water arising on site, was an industry first, according to ABP. The site is located in an area of low rainfall so the company had to come up with this innovative solution to ensure water efficiency was maximised.
The company now recycles approximately 20% of all its waste water generated on site. It believes this process has significant potential in the future and is looking to implement it across its other similar facilities.
Vital too, to the success of any water efficiency measure, is the adoption of accurate measurement and monitoring so ABP installed water meters on each of the different water streams (45 degrees, 65 degrees, 85 degrees and ambient water).
Setting targets and getting the conversation going at board level are also invaluable steps and ABP were unhesitant in setting clear key performance indicators by recording water usage for each daily production cycle in relation to its four different water inputs. This data is analysed by its environmental and process experts and is regularly discussed at board level, enabling targets to be deployed lower down the management team and monitored on a continual basis.
The company were not afraid to invest significantly in efficient facilities. It started with the installation of high pressure, low volume washers, which have a specific nozzle configuration to ensure water usage is kept to a minimum.
A rainwater harvesting system was also installed and in a move to maximise the amount of water harvestable, all rainfall whether on the roofs or hard standing is collected. This water is filtered and treated with ultra violet light to ensure that it is of a satisfactory standard for reuse in the area of the site used for the washing of livestock vehicles. This amounts to almost 10% of water use on the site.
Other than reducing water consumption, the company has also tried to ensure its day to day operations make the most efficient use of the water essential to its processes. 90 degree sterilisers are machines that in most factories, throughout the industry, are left running throughout the day and constantly lose hot water to the surrounding environment.
The sterilisers at Sturminster Newton are managed proactively to ensure they only contain water at the minimum temperature of 90 degrees necessary to function effectively. In order to do this, ABP installed the most efficient heat exchanges currently available to optimise water temperature.
“Throughout this exciting project we have evolved our thinking as we have discovered new ways of maximising the efficient use of water and this is now something we will look to replicate across our group,” said ABP.
ABP has really thought about water throughout its process and saved around 75% of volume of water per animal which is hugely impressive. They’ve installed reverse osmosis and rainwater harvesting technology and this is scaleable across the industry. This shows strong leadership in a sector that really needs it
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