Water plays an essential role in our everyday lives, from nourishing our bodies and helping us detoxify them to helping us enjoy some of our favorite pastimes. It is only expected of us to want to ensure that we have the best quality of water at our disposal while protecting the environment.
In fact, we focus so much on the quality of the water in our homes that sometimes we forget about things like how water treatment works in the food and beverage industry. So, in the spirit of learning, we thought we’d dive into how water treatment works in the food and beverage industry, breaking down why the water needs to be filtered and the best ways to get clean, contaminant-free water.
Let’s Check it Out!
Water’s Role in the Food and Beverage Industry
You may not realize it, but water is a crucial — integral even — part of the food and beverage industry. It is used in every aspect, from daily operations and sanitization to preparing and producing some of your favorite bites. Like our households, many food and beverage facilities and eateries rely on municipally treated water. Though generally safe for consumption and industrial use, it can still house impurities or contaminants that can leach into our water supplies, be directly ingested and make us ill. This is why we must monitor and further treat our water beyond standard protocols.
Traditionally, the food and beverage industry uses large volumes of water for its various processes like boilers, dishwashers, ice machines, steamers, and this creates gallons of wastewater. The top challenges the food and beverage industry faces are reducing high water usage, wastewater costs and proper disposal, and meeting industry sustainability goals.
Why We Need to Further Treat Water in the Food and Beverage Industry
Although tap water is said to be safe for consumption and industrial usage, it still poses a potential danger to consumer health, whether directly or indirectly. Further treating the water that is used in food and beverage industry facilities. These are a few of the chemicals, minerals, and metals you can find in your water:
One of the more harmful heavy metals present in the food and beverage industry water sources, it makes its way into tap water through old lead pipes. As they corrode over time, the lead seeps into water supplies. When ingested, it can cause heart defects, high blood pressure, kidney and reproductive damage. In children, the side effects are developmental and behavioral issues, lower IQ, and slowed growth.
Recognizable by the telltale, unsightly reddish-brown residue it leaves and the hue it gives water, iron is another common mineral found in water sources. In food and drink, it can have a metallic taste, making dishes less appealing or tasty. And when excess amounts are ingested, it can lead to hemochromatosis, which causes damage to the liver, heart, and pancreas.
Calcium is an essential dietary mineral responsible for bone and tooth growth and assists with nerve impulses, hormone release, and stabilizing your pH. It is also one part of the duo that makes up water hardness and naturally occurring in nature. In small doses, it can be wildly beneficial. However, when too much calcium winds up in your body, it can cause digestive issues, abnormal heart rhythms, and even the potential to develop hypercalcemia, which can affect your kidneys and other organs.
It isn’t harmful to consumers, but hard water can be a water issue that can lead to problems for food and beverage industry businesses down the road. Hard water consists mainly of minerals like calcium and magnesium, and when they react with soap and other components, can cause soap scum or limescale. This limescale builds up in pipes, faucets, and appliances resulting in frequent repairs needed and shortening valuable equipment’s lifespan.
Perhaps one of the most common chemicals found in tap water. Many municipal water sources intentionally add chlorine and other chemicals to disinfect the water that millions of Americans rely on. It is also used in household cleaning products. When swallowed or comes in contact with skin, water with high chlorine levels can result in trouble breathing and eye, skin, and airway irritation.
How Water Treatment Works in the Food and Beverage Industry
There are countless ways to treat commercial water, although some methods are more energy-efficient and accessible than others. The type of treatment needed depends on factors like water volume, needs, and the presence of water issues. A few of the most popular methods include:
Instead of purifying water like the others on this list, this method uses UV light to disinfect the water and protect us from bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing organisms. UV disinfection is essential for food and beverage processors because it helps prevent chemicals from contaminating freshwater systems.
Widely known as one of the effective and efficient water filtration technologies out there, reverse osmosis uses a semi-permeable mesh to filter and purify water supplies. The mesh’s pores are so small that when the contaminated water is filtered through the mesh, debris and other contaminants get trapped, leaving only the clean water molecules to flow through. For maximum filtration, experts recommend pairing your reverse osmosis filter with an activated carbon filter.
Most ideal for water treatment plants in the food industry, carbon filtration reduces organic compounds and chemicals found in water. It can also remove lead, solvents, pesticides, and industrial waste. Unfortunately, it doesn’t remove metals, nitrates, or microbial contaminants.
Deionization is a favored water treatment process when it comes to industrial water systems. Here, water flows over an electrically charged resin, which attracts positive unwanted minerals and ions like calcium and iron, removing them and leaving you with pure, contaminant-free water.
How the Science of Water Can Help
To truly reap the benefits of treating food and beverage industry water sources, we highly recommend investing in a water filtration system to ensure that your water quality doesn’t affect your production process. Many are familiar with Puronics’ residential water treatment systems. Yet, they aren’t aware that those same systems that provide homes with clean, contaminant-free water can also experience the same high-quality water on a commercial level.
Whether you operate at a plant or a neighborhood restaurant, Puronics has a treatment system to solve your water problems, and the Science of Water can help. The first step is taking one of our water tests to learn more about what lurks in your water, so we know precisely what issues to tackle!
To request a free water test or learn more about our services, contact us at (352) 745-7070 or (904) 580-0000.