What is dairy wastewater? and how is it treated? Due to the continuing growth of milk production, wastewater from dairies is considered one of the largest sources of industrial wastewater. Much of this wastewater is derived from the cleaning and maintenance processes involved, however, water is used throughout dairy production including disinfection, heating and cooling, and more.

This wastewater contains contaminants that need to be treated effectively. Ineffective trade effluent treatment methods lead to harmful environmental effects. For example, dairy wastewater has a high level of milk constituents which raise BOD levels in natural environments.

Enduramaxx provides its customers with the most reliable and effective wastewater treatment options available anywhere.

What are the characteristics of dairy wastewater?

Dairy wastewater contains high levels of BOD (biological oxygen demand), COD (chemical oxygen demand), TSS (total suspended solids), sulphates, grease, chlorides. Unsurprisingly, dairy wastewater is also composed of milk constituents like casein, inorganic salts. Detergents and sanitisers from cleaning processes are also present.

These contaminants also contribute to an increased BOD and COD levels which have a drastic impact on the environment if it’s not treated properly. Various treatment methods are available including anaerobic and aerobic treatments or a combination of both.

Environmental Impact of Dairy Wastewater

The dairy industry is one of the biggest sources of industrial wastewater in the world. It is also one of the biggest polluters. On average, around 2.5 litres of wastewater is generated for every litre of milk processed. The volume and flow rate of this trade effluent, however, varies depending on the particular dairy product.

Untreated wastewater with significantly high levels of BOD or COD, for example, will reduce the dissolved oxygen (DO) in water. This causes stress and harm to the natural organisms present in the water. It’s necessary to have a trade effluent treatment method that lowers BOD, COD, pH levels, and other contaminants that are a risk to the environment.

Aside from being environmentally negligent, failure to adequately treat wastewater can result in severe legal penalties and loss of reputation for a business.

Treatment Methods
– Dairy Wastewater

There is no one size fits all approach to the treatment of dairy wastewater. This is because of the varied composition and volume as well as the complexity of its biodegradability. Dairy trade effluent contains carbohydrates which can biodegrade far easier than the fats and proteins that are also present.


As a pre-treatment, screening is always recommended for wastewater treatment. This removes large particles and solids at an early stage, reducing BOD levels and preventing the risk of blockages in the pipes.


Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) is a preferable chemical treatment for dairy wastewater as it removes soluble contaminants and colloids. Enduramaxx stocks a range of DAF Sludge Storage tanks which can be used as part of an effective DAF treatment system.

Biological Treatments

Following pre-treatments, biological treatments are necessary to remove any remaining impurities with the use of microorganisms. Anaerobic treatments use microorganisms without the use of oxygen, while aerobic treatments do use oxygen. These microorganisms then help break down the biodegradable materials in the wastewater, reducing the risk of harmful effects on the environment.

One of the most popular aerobic methods for this type of wastewater is SBR (sequencing batch reactor) because of its loading capabilities and wastewater flexibility. Both Effluent Sludge Storage Tanks and Settlement tanks working in conjunction with this process.

Enduramaxx – Dairy Wastewater Processing

Enduramaxx stocks everything required for a complete wastewater treatment process for dairy industries. By installing a functional, on-site wastewater treatment system you can save your business time and money. Contact Enduramaxx today and one of our staff experts will be glad to advise you on your options.