From the cooling of equipment to cleaning bottles to washing delivery vehicles, bottling companies can use significant amounts of water in many different ways. Fortunately, this variety of water use can lead to a number of water saving opportunities.
Conduct a facility water audit
- A water audit identifies the quantities, characteristics, and uses of water at a site. By conducting an audit, a water balance can be created which to help decide where to focus their water-efficiency efforts.
Consider water recycling or reuse options
After determining the quantities and characteristics of water used for various processes in your facility, determine what water discharges are appropriate for recycling or reuse. Flow rates, piping costs, and water quality are some of the considerations to take into account.
Potential sources of water for recycling or reuse include:
- Final rinses from tank cleaning, keg washers, crate washing and fermenters.
- Bottle and can soak and rinse water.
- Cooler flush water and filter backwash.
- Pasteurizer and sterilizer cooling water.
Potential recipients for recycled or reuse water include:
- First rinses in wash cycles.
- Can shredder, bottle crusher.
- Filter backflush.
- Caustic dilution.
- Boiler makeup.
- Refrigeration equipment defrost.
- Equipment cleaning, floor and gutter wash.
Evaluate Clean-Up Procedures
Employee education in water-efficient clean-up procedure scan go a long way in the effort to reduce water use. Consider the following:
- Sweep and shovel solid materials from the floor; do not use hoses for this purpose.
- When hoses are used make sure they have spring-loaded nozzles that are in good condition. They should emit the appropriate spray pattern for the intended use.
- Use pressure washers where possible.
- Provide an adequate number of receptacles for collecting solids.
- Inventory all cleaning equipment (such as hoses) provided in the plant: Determine the number and types of units provided.
- Inventory all cleaning chemicals used in the facility to determine if they are being used correctly and if they are water efficient.
- Use hand sweeping, squeegees, or other dry methods of removing waste materials rather than large volumes of water.
The bottling line can be a significant source of water consumption. Consider these strategies for reducing water consumption:
- Using compressed air instead of water for interior bottle cleaning.
- Install an electric eye to shut off the bottle wash when the bottles are not in close proximity.
- Review nozzle spray patterns for optimum application. Fan, cone, hollow cone, are a few examples of spray patterns.
- Replace worn nozzles that lead to poor spray patterns and excessive water consumption. Worn nozzles are sometimes hard to see. A regular replacement schedule should be observed.
- Maintain conveyer system within manufacturer’s specifications and monitor for excessive water consumption.
Eliminate single pass cooling
Single pass cooling uses water once and then discharges it to the sewer. Single pass cooling can use up to 40 times more water then a closed loop-cooling tower. Consider:
- Installing a cooling tower. See the Heating and Cooling section of this site for more information.
- Replacing single pass water-cooled equipment with air-cooled units.
- Reusing single pass water in other processes as long as water quality is acceptable.