Arterra / Philippe Clément

Sugar refinery to give its wastewater to famers

The Tienen Sugar Refinery has announced that it is going to do its bit to help farmers, horticulturists and municipal parks’ departments through the current drought. The Flemish Brabant sugar producer said in a statement released on Thursday evening that as during previous droughts it will make purified wastewater from its factory available to those that need it. Around 1 million litres of water, the equivalent of 40 tankerloads will be available each day.

The Tienen (Flemish Brabant)-based company has purified the water that comes from the production process at its sugar factory since the 1980’s. Since 2018 the water that is recovered during the processing of sugar beet has been made available to farmers. Sugar beet contains nearly 80% water. Although the water is not suitable for human consumption it can be put to good use for watering plants or irrigating fields.

The Director of the Tienen Sugar Refinery Jan Ingels told VRT News that "Water is part of the refinery's DNA. During the processing of sugar beet we recover water and reuse it for washing or as process water.”

Water flow in the factory is optimally managed and water is recovered where possible and then purified. At the end of the process, some residual water remains. It is this water that the Tienen Refinery is makes available to famers, horticulturalists and parks departments.

Increased demand that has come as a result of the drought means that the refinery now hopes to recover and purify even more water and make it available for domestic use. 

Together with the Flemish water supply company Watergroep, the refinery is working on a project entitled “Tiense Waterveldvelden” (Tienen Water Fields). Once up and running the Tiense Watervelden project will provide drinking water to around 10,000 homes.

 

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