What the judges said: “Recycling potato wash water cutting water use by 75% plus useful energy savings, improved effluent quality and recycling soil and sand.

And: “Excellent project with applicability elsewhere – other companies are said to be interested.”

And: “Technologies used in a ‘lateral thinking’ way to reduce water consumption during potato washing.”

Greenvale AP has grown to become the UK’s leading supplier of fresh potatoes in the last 40 years.

The company has never in this time taken its eye off the important issues surrounding its business.

The environment and community has always played an important part in the company’s mission.

The Problem: Potato packing is a high water use industry, and the old methods of chilling water, using it once, treating it and discharging it was clearly unsuitable for the needs of a modern, environmentally proactive business.

For many years, investigations have been ongoing as to how Greenvale AP could recycle its wash water, without compromising the quality of the potatoes.

The Solution: In July 2008 the company decided to investigate a new approach, to enable it to recycle water so as to ensure that it was ‘future proof’ within the industry and well ahead of the local Environment Agency regulations.

Andy Clarkson (General Manager) and Martin Lewis (Operations Manager) engaged with a number of water plant manufacturers, and visited various plants throughout the UK to gain experience and overviews of the equipment that is currently available.

The concept was to develop a system that allowed continuous replenishment of freshwater to its wash plant and still enable it to recycle water, while controlling bacterial growth and producing a higher quality product.

Project Cascade was born, and with it the technology and process to change the way the food industry wash fresh produce in the future.
The Savings:

·Continual recycling of process wash water, thereby reducing water usage by a minimum of 75%.
·Chilling and disinfection of wash water – thereby restricting bacterial spoilage and extending the shelf life of the product.
·Converting environmentally unfriendly soil slurry into reusable sand and topsoil products.
·Energy Savings in the form of 8000kWh per week by recycling chilled water instead of “one off” wasteful chilling.

Shortlisted projects in no particular order:

Southern Water’s Blooming schools campaign

Bathroom Manufacturers Association’s The Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme

Talisman Communications’ Shower Power campaign

Race Cottam associate’s green roof and rebuild of a water treatment plant

Mott MacDonald’s Water Resources Demand Management Assistance project

Oxford Catalysts Group microchannel reactor demonstration plant to produce liquid biofuels

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