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Meat ProcessingMeat Processing

The slaughtering of live animals results in significant waste. These wastes are highly concentrated. Disposing of these wastes generally require permits from state and federal environmental agencies to ensure minimal environmental impact. These wastes include solids (i.e., hair, hides, heads, feet, etc.) and liquids (i.e., blood, washwater, chilling water, cleaners, sanitizers, etc.). Solid waste are typically separated and sold (e.g., hides, heads, leg bones, etc.) or disposed of (e.g., landfill) depending on economic markets. Solid waste or liquids that end up in the liquid waste stream are collectively referred to as wastewater. Table 1 shows a sample of wastewater characteristics for a discharge from a pork slaughter facility. Before being discharged this wastewater would need additional treatment to reduce regulated components (e.g., TSS, FOG, COD, TKN, Total Phosphorus) by 10 to 100 times. Of particular concern in beef wastewater compared to pork wastewater is the addition of 'dirt' from animal hides which adds significantly to total suspended solids.

Permits required for meat processing vary with the type of manufacturing (slaughter, further processing, packaging). 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 Phosphorus. 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 pork slaughter plant.

Parameter

Flow
Gal/animal

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

(mg/L)
Range
35 - 105
4.9-7.2
736-2,399
482-1,950
1,200-6,636
2,333-8,627
90-700
0-80

TSS – Total Suspended Solids
FOG – Fat, Oil and Grease
BOD5 – A five day Biochemical Oxygen Demand
COD – Chemical Oxygen Demand
TKN – Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen

Other Resources

Sustainability Resources for Meat

 


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

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