European legislation

Water use and wastewater discharge are covered by both national and international legislations. For European Union (EU) member countries the legislation follows ECC directives, the most relevant are listed below; see the Europa website for further details (Europa, 2005).

• The new European Water Policy: river basin management.

• The Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

• Towards a European action programme on flood risk management.

• Strategies against chemical pollution of surface water under the Water Framework Directive.

• Priority substances under Article 16 of the Water Framework Directive.

• Discharges of Dangerous Substances Directive (76/464/EEC).

• Water pollution coming from urban waste water and certain industrial sectors.

• Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC).

• Water pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources.

• Bathing Water Quality of rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

• Bathing Water Quality Directive (Council Directive 76/160/EEC concerning the quality of bathing water) and its proposed revision.

• Drinking Water Quality.

• Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC).

Many of the above have either direct or indirect relation to water used and waste water discharged by food processing industries.

92 Handbook of waste management and co-product recovery 5.1.3 Best available techniques

The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive (96/61/ EC) (IPPC, 1996) has introduced a framework requiring EU member states to issue operating permits for industrial installations performing activities. These permits must contain conditions that are based on best available techniques (BAT), and aim to offer a high level of protection to the environment as a whole.

A key feature of the IPPC Directive is to stimulate an intensive exchange of information on BAT between the European member states and the industries considered. The European IPPC Bureau organises this exchange of information and produces BAT reference documents (BREFs). Member states are required to take these BREFs into account when determining permit conditions. The Bureau carries out its work through Technical Working Groups (TWGs) comprising nominated experts from EU member states, European Free Trade (EFTA) countries, industry and environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The European IPPC Bureau is located in Sevilla, Spain. For this reason, we refer to the activities carried out within the framework of the IPPC Directive as 'the Sevilla process'.

BAT correspond to the techniques with the best overall environmental performance that can be introduced at a reasonable cost. There have been several studies made in food processing industries. A good example comes from The Flemish Centre for Best Available Techniques (BAT centre) (2005). This document contains an overview of available information on the 'fruit and vegetable processing industry'. Using BAT as guidance, the study proposes:

• to the Flemish authorities, permit conditions and techniques for which investment support may be offered because they are favourable to the environment;

• to the Flemish companies, guidelines for the implementation of the concept of BAT.

The 'fruit and vegetable processing industry', as described in the study, contains the sectors of 'frozen fruits and vegetables', 'canned fruits and vegetables', 'processed potatoes', 'peeled potatoes' and 'fruit juices'. The most important environmental problems are the use of large volumes of ground water and the production of waste water polluted with organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. Information on candidate BAT was mainly obtained from expertise present in Belgium and the neighbouring countries. Over one hundred different BAT were selected. The technical and economical feasibility of these BAT were discussed. BAT on waste-water treatment are, for example:

• primary and aerobic wastewater treatment for small, potato peeling enterprises;

• primary, anaerobic and aerobic wastewater treatment, including nitrifi-cation/denitrification/dephosphatation for larger companies.

Based on the BAT it was concluded that the Flemish wastewater discharge limits on surface water are technologically and economically feasible. Additional discharge limits for total phosphorus (25-50 mg/l) were suggested. Annual wastewater treatment costs for an average enterprise were estimated to be €2.5-3.5 M. For small, potato peeling companies, wastewater discharge into the sewers was found to be more appropriate. Water-saving measures and reuse of water may cause a 25-30% decrease in the use of ground water.

A good source for BAT practices is Envirowise - Practical Environmental Advice for Business, a government programme managed by Momenta (an operating division of AEA Technology Plc) and TTI (an operating division of Serco Ltd). Their website, (Envirowise, 2006), provides a wide range of information from news to best practice examples.

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