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Water Reuse for Agricultural Processing: A Community Case Study

Read the complete report: Water Reuse for Agricultural Processing (A Community Case Study)

About This Report

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) recognizes the value of reclaimed water for the agricultural processing industry.  AURI initiated and provided financial support to study reclaimed water use for industry, and this case study is a continuation of the efforts to understand and explore the possibilities and potential benefits of water reuse and sustainability practices at industrial facilities.

This case study looks specifically at one rural community in Minnesota.  This community, like many rural Minnesota communities, has more industrial than domestic water demand and wastewater discharges.  While each community has a unique composition of municipal and industrial water and wastewater systems, there are common elements that can be summarized to serve as a model for planning future improvements to meet overall economic goals for the community as a whole, both private and public entities.

The research addresses the following opportunities:

  • List of information required to evaluate water sustainability practices.
  • Documentation of questions and planning activities for water sustainability projects.
  • Concept plan for water sustainability for two case-study industries.
  • Evaluation of proposed water sustainability improvements for the municipal wastewater treatment facility in terms of capacity and costs.
  • Industry return on investment and related benefits from a water sustainability plan.

Project Outcomes
This study outlines the steps involved in a water reuse evaluation and identifies information to compile and preliminary questions to address.  In communities like this case study community, where industry has a larger water demand and wastewater loading than the residential/commercial sector, it is important to evaluate water sustainability practices from all perspectives.  For this particular community, only one of the six potential water sustainability options was considered economically feasible.  For other communities and industries looking to implement water sustainability practices, several circumstances were identified in the report that could improve the economic viability.

To foster knowledge and discussion on this topic, AURI will share this research with the food processing industry, municipalities, commodity groups and academia institutions in Minnesota as well as with regional and national associations.  The report’s findings will also be disseminated to other organizations and businesses that have an interest in water reuse and sustainability practices.