Home
Compliance Summary
Meat
Poultry
Seafood
Fruits and Vegetables
Dairy
Eggs
General Operations
Sustainability
Regulations
About
Contact Us

Search FPEAC:

Google

The Web
This Site

Fruit and Vegetable Processing

Fruit and VegetablesFruit and vegetable processing activities typically produce large volumes of wastes. Disposing of these wastes generally require permits from state and federal environmental agencies to ensure minimal environmental impact. These wastes include solids (i.e., peels, cores, seeds, stems, dirt, etc.) and liquids (i.e., juices, wash water, chilling water, cleaners, sanitizers, etc.). Solid waste are typically separated and disposed of (e.g., compost, landfill, cattle feed, biogas) depending on economic markets. Solid waste or liquids that end up in the liquid waste stream are collectively referred to as wastewater. Wastewater characteristics will vary greatly depending upon the type of fruit or vegetable processed and the processing techniques used (e.g., washing, blanching, peeling, etc.) Table 1 shows a sample of wastewater characteristics for a discharge from a potato processing facility. Before being discharged this wastewater would need additional treatment to reduce regulated components (e.g., TSS, FOG, COD, TKN, Total Phosphorous) by 10 to 100 times. Of particular concern in fruit and vegetable wastewater compared to other food manufacturing is the addition of ‘dirt’ from raw fruits and vegetables that add significantly to total suspended solids. In addition, in peeling operations may utilize caustic (pH > 10) which can present problems during biological treatment. Approximately 50% of water used in fruit and vegetable processing is for washing and rinsing.

Permits required for fruit and vegetable processing vary with the type of manufacturing (peeling, pureeing, slicing, packaging, etc.). The wastewater permit may be a municipal permit for those discharging into a publicly owned treatment works (e.g., city or municipality) or a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit if the facility treats its own wastewater and directly discharges into the environment. These permits specify maximum allowable limits for discharge parameters such as total flow, BOD5, COD, FOG, TKN, and Total Phosphorous. These limits are based many factors such as location, type of treatment available at POTW, type of discharge (river, municipality, land application, etc.).

TABLE 1: Compiled profile of wastewater from potato processing.

Parameter

Flow
1,000 Gal
water/ton
raw product

pH
TSS
(mg/L)
FOG
(mg/L)
BOD5
(mg/L)
COD
(mg/L)
TKN
(mg/L)
Total
Phosphorus

(mg/L)
Range
1.9-6.6
5.0-7.0
2,000-
4,261
n. r.
2,000-2,800
2,600–
5,000
15-90
6.0-33

TSS – Total Suspended Solids
FOG – Fat, Oil and Grease
BOD5 – A five day Biochemical Oxygen Demand
COD – Chemical Oxygen Demand
TKN – Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen
n.r. – not reported

Other Resources

Sustainability Resources for Fruits & Vegetables


FPEAC
Food Processing Environmental Assistance Center
Purdue University, Food Science Building, 745 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47906
Phone: 765-494-7997 • FAX: 765-494-7953

Disclaimer | About | Contact | Home