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In this Research Communication we investigate the microbiological profile of 12 dairy wastewater streams from three contrasting Irish dairy processing factories to determine whether faecal indicators/pathogens were present and in turn, whether disinfection may be required for potential water reuse within the factory. Subsequently, the impact of suspended solids on the inactivation efficiency of Escherichia coli via two means of ultravoilet (UV) disinfection; flow-through pulsed UV (PUV) and continuous low pressure UV (LPUV) disinfection was analysed. Faecal indicators total coliforms and E. coli were detected in 10 out of the 12 samples collected at the dairy processing factories while pathogenic bacteria Listeria monocytogenes was detected in all samples collected at 2 out of the 3 factories. Salmonella spp. was undetected in all samples. The results also indicated that organic dairy wastewater solids had an impact on the performance efficiency of the PUV system and, to a lesser extent, the LPUV system. The findings indicate that the targeting of key pathogens would be required to enable wastewater reuse (and indeed effluent discharges if regulation continues to become more stringent) and that LPUV may offer a more robust disinfection method as it appears to be less susceptible to the presence of suspended solids.
This Review describes the objectives and methodology of the DairyWater project as it aims to aid the Irish dairy processing industry in achieving sustainability as it expands. With the abolition of European milk quotas in March 2015, the Republic of Ireland saw a surge in milk production. The DairyWater project was established in anticipation of this expansion of the Irish dairy sector in order to develop innovative solutions for the efficient management of water consumption, wastewater treatment and the resulting energy use within the country's dairy processing industry. Therefore, the project can be divided into three main thematic areas: dairy wastewater treatment technologies and microbial analysis, water re-use and rainwater harvesting and environmental assessment. In order to ensure the project remains as relevant as possible to the industry, a project advisory board containing key industry stakeholders has been established. To date, a number of large scale studies, using data obtained directly from the Irish dairy industry, have been performed. Additionally, pilot-scale wastewater treatment (intermittently aerated sequencing batch reactor) and tertiary treatment (flow-through pulsed ultraviolet system) technologies have been demonstrated within the project. Further details on selected aspects of the project are discussed in greater detail in the subsequent cluster of research communications.
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