A cool glass of wastewater, please
A farmer who purifies cow manure to let his cattle drink? Astronauts turning urine into water? The technology to make perfectly drinkable water out of anything already exists. At Colruyt Group, we treat wastewater and rainwater to convert it into drinking water. We use this recycled water every day to clean our equipment, as well as to make meat preparations. We are the first in Belgium to do so. Our goal: derive 50 % of our total water consumption from wastewater and rainwater by 2025. Today we stand at 27 %.
Saving city water and costs
Our meat processing activity Fine Food Meat and our distribution centre Dassenveld in Halle together account for about half of our total water consumption. That is why we chose to start with water recycling at these locations first. In this way we saved no less than 97,898 m³ city water in 2019. This corresponds to the average annual water consumption of more than 1,300 households.
By consuming less city water, the groundwater resources are maintained while our water bill is also reduced. These lower costs mean you can continue to shop at our Colruyt Lowest Prices, OKay and Spar retail formulas at competitive prices. Due to this recycling, we also discharge far less wastewater into the sewage network, which results in more efficient operations at the sewage treatment plants.
From wastewater to perfectly drinkable water
All the wastewater from our meat processing company is treated in a traditional biological treatment plant, giving it the quality of river water. A drinking water station then filters part of that treated water to convert it into drinking water free of organic substances. This pure water flows directly back to the production site, where it comes out of the tap just like city water.
The drinking water we produce in this way is as pure as tap water. The owner and operator of the drinking water station, De Watergroep, continuously monitors the quality of the water online and takes new samples every week. Our meat processors can therefore perfectly use the recycled water. You won’t notice any impact on the taste and quality of the products you buy in our stores.
In 2016 Fine Food Meat opened a second production site. In addition to wastewater, we also treat rainwater there to make it drinkable. Via the roof of one of the buildings, we collect rainwater in a buffer tank. Part of it goes directly to the sanitary facilities, another part is purified into drinking water. Via the PURA (PUrification of RAinwater) process, we treated 972 m³ of rainwater in 2019. The recovered rainwater has the same applications in meat processing as the treated wastewater.
We also collect rainwater at our Dassenveld distribution centre in Halle, in two buffer tanks with a capacity of 4,100 m³. We reuse that rainwater in the crate washing installation and the sanitary facilities. We are looking into how we can take further steps in terms of water purification at this site as well.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.