Regulations regarding the treatment and disposal of wastewater are becoming increasingly stringent. If not treated properly, wastewater can cause significant environmental harm by polluting rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. Governments across the globe are focusing on the environmental management system standard to protect the environment from the adverse effects of wastewater discharges, set water quality standards, introduce guidelines for the protection of fresh waters, and minimize the impact of wastewater on the environment. Such standards are designed to protect the environment and public health by ensuring that wastewater (including the one from the F&B industry) is treated properly before being discharged into the environment or reused. Food & beverage companies must comply with these standards to maintain their license to operate and protect the environment.
Some of the wastewater purification standards mandated by government bodies are as follows:
- National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES): Established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate the discharge of pollutants into waterways.
- European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive: Sets water quality standards for all bodies of surface and groundwater in the EU.
- NSF/ANSI 62-2018 (Drinking Water Distillation Systems): Specifies the appropriate steps to provide the public with a clean and safe water system.
- Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality: Provides guidelines for protecting fresh and marine waters in Australia and New Zealand
- World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality: Provides guidelines for managing drinking water supplies to reduce the risk of waterborne diseases
- AWWA B130-2018 (Membrane Bioreactor Systems): Not only gives specifications for water treatment systems for returning that water to the surrounding environment but also for the process of water reclamation, in which wastewater or other nonpotable water is made potable.
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2015: An environmental management system standard that helps organizations minimize their environmental impact and comply with relevant regulations.
- The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system: A food safety management system used in the F&B industry to identify, assess, and control hazards in the production process.
- NSF P231-2003 (Microbiological Water Purifiers) and NSF/ANSI 55-2021 (Ultraviolet Microbiological Water Treatment Systems): These standards outline the requirements for eliminating dangerous microorganisms, such as bacteria, Cryptosporidium Oocysts and Giardia cysts from contaminated water. These standards are not necessarily intended to make nonpotable water drinkable but to make it pure enough to safely exit bodies of water.
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP): Guidelines for the manufacturing, processing, packaging, and storage of food and beverages to ensure that the products are safe for human consumption
All such regulatory mandates and guidelines boost the adoption of water and wastewater treatment technologies in the F&B industry, driving the growth of this market.