AB World Foods is an international food producer with a portfolio of brands that includes Patak’s, Blue Dragon, Levi Roots, Al’Fez and TABASCO. It operates across eight sites worldwide, including two based in the UK.
Due to the nature of the products manufactured at the Leigh site, the water discharged from the production line contains significant levels of suspended solids as well as fat, oil and grease (FOG) content. Like many similar factories, AB World Foods operates a Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) water treatment process to remove the contamination from the water before it is discharged. This process is aided by the use of a chemical coagulant to help separate the particles more effectively.
Brian Jones, business development manager at VWT UK explained: “When I first visited AB World Foods in 2019, the site was using a tannin-based coagulant, similar to the type we produce, but it was not performing consistently. The process had become too complex to manage and chemical usage was unpredictable. These issues meant the water quality had, at times, fallen out of the limits specified by the wastewater discharge consent issued by United Utilities.”
In consultation with the site facilities team, VWT UK analysed the requirements and recommended a combination of its Hydrex 6861 organic coagulant and Hydrex 6521 anionic liquid polymer, which consolidates the flocs for easy removal. The new solution was then trialled to demonstrate the effectiveness before it was fully implemented. VWT UK also provided full training for the plant operators so they could understand the chemistry of the products and manage the process in the most effective way.
Hydrex 6861 is a vegetable-based organic coagulant made from renewable Black Acacia tree bark. It is said to provide a more efficient, cost-effective and simpler alternative to traditional metal-based coagulants such as ferric chloride or polyaluminium chloride (PAC). It does not require the use of caustic chemicals, has lower dosing requirements compared to other products and, when compared with metal-based options, it produces a lower volume of sludge for the same level of performance. Also, its organic composition means it is biodegradable to ensure a minimal environmental impact and allow a wider range of sludge disposal options.
Chris Sanders, site facilities manager at AB World Foods commented: “The VWT solution has been in place for more than two years and we have seen very impressive results. Chemical usage is now far more consistent and predictable, and the quantity used has been reduced by around 50%, saving the business approximately £1,000 per month.”
“The demand on the team has also been reduced, allowing us to focus on other areas of the site. Previously, we needed to check the treatment system regularly throughout the day to ensure it was operating correctly. We are now able to perform a check about once a day.”
Furthermore, the site has been able to achieve a more consistent level of quality for the treated water with no chemical issues causing breaches in the trade effluent consent limits. Improvements in the quality of the discharged water has also meant a reduction in trade effluent (Mogden) charges. The average cost in 2019-20 and 2020-21 (year to date) was £1.78 and £2.07 per m3 of effluent discharged respectively, down from £2.24 before the VWT chemicals were introduced – a reduction of 20.5% and 7.6% respectively.
Due to this success, the partnership has been extended with VWT UK recently awarded the service and maintenance contract for the water treatment plant and chemical dosing system.