Managing economic and environmental challenges was this year’s theme at the 42nd Annual Food & Beverage Environmental Conference, and Rich’s director of energy & water management, Todd Musterait, was a keynote panelist sharing insights on wastewater treatment and reduction.
Managed by the American Frozen Food Institute, the five-day conference brought together more than 300 senior environmental managers from food and beverage companies across the nation. These thought leaders shared with one another their perspectives and first-hand experience with sustainable practices, environmental compliance, new technologies and unique approaches to generate less waste, preserve resources and improve cost efficiencies.
As a member of a four-person panel, Musterait described the changes Rich’s has made to the wastewater treatment processes at its Hilliard manufacturing facility. In his presentation, he discussed how Rich’s leadership chose to install a new pretreatment system based on “dissolved air flotation” technology (DAF), when the easier and less costly option would have been to simply replace the existing grease trap. Less reliable than DAF technology, grease traps treat wastewater before discharging it into the municipal sewer system.
“The decision to install the DAF pretreatment system is a great example of how our leaders at Rich’s are committed to investing in sustainable wastewater treatment for the long-term,” said Musterait. “This advanced treatment system will reduce Rich’s environmental footprint by discharging cleaner wastewater, and it will more effectively maintain environmental compliance. What’s more, the new system will create efficiencies by significantly reducing the surcharges applied to water discharged from the facility.”
In his presentation, Musterait stressed the importance of engaging with regulatory authorities early and often when making sustainable upgrades at a facility.
“Updating to this technology seems simple, but there are numerous regulatory challenges which must be considered,” he said. “Each state and local jurisdiction has different requirements regarding the disposal of plant wastewater.”
“Conference attendees were keen to learn how Rich’s implemented a full-scale wastewater treatment system,” said Musterait. The ability to share Rich’s success story with a core group of environmental thought leaders was a true honor for me,” said Musterait.