UV Water Treatment in the Beverage Industry

For more than 70 years, UV technology has served the beverage industry well keeping pathogenic microorganisms at bay. Many bottled water and soft drink producers around the globe rely on UV to provide microbial-free, pure water and ingredients, which help protect the ‘brand’, the flavor, and extend shelf life.

The Typical Bottling Process

Bottled water products are produced utilizing a multi-barrier approach, from source to finished product, that helps prevent possible harmful microorganisms or chemicals from contaminating the finished product or storage, production and transportation equipment. Measures in a multi-barrier approach may include source protection, source monitoring, RO, distillation, filtration, ozonation or UV light.

Schematic of typical water treatment steps in a bottling facility

Typical water treatment steps in a bottling facility

Effective use of UV located at strategic points in the process can protect the overall integrity of the end product, lower maintenance costs by decreasing the microbial load, and reduce some CIP sanitation frequencies and related maintenance on the equipment.

Advantages of UV technology

When the main product ingredient is water, its quality is essential. Beverage formulations typically contain more than 95-percent water, and almost nothing affects product taste like its primary ingredient. Therefore, it is critical to use water as pure and natural as possible. However, even pure and natural waters have varying taste, and treatment can bring consistency to soft drink and bottled water products. UV disinfection is a flexible, safe and cost-effective technology that effectively inactivates pathogenic bacteria, spores, viruses and protozoa (including Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardiacysts). The use of UV technology for water treatment has several inherent advantages:

  • UV light does not add color, odor, chemicals, taste, pH or flavor, nor does it generate harmful byproducts
  • It is fast, effective, efficient and environmentally friendly
  • UV systems have small footprints and they can be key components of water treatment process trains

UV Water Treatment Applications

High-temperature, steam-sterilizable, compact UV water treatment systems provide an economical means of water disinfection and can be used in many applications.

  1. Protecting a source water at the spring site, before water is transferred to a bulk tanker en route to the bottling plant. Today, many bottlers at spring sites select UV water disinfection technology as an alternative disinfection method when loading tankers, in order to reduce sanitation frequency and also mitigate the risk of bromate formation (in case bromide shows up in spring source water).
  2. Disinfection of bulk-tanker water supplies. Water flows from tankers through the UV system, prior to entering the storage tank at the bottling plant.
  3. Liquid sugar or syrup. UV is more cost effective and simpler in operation and maintenance than the conventional boiling process. For this application, thin-film UV reactor design is required to ensure disinfection efficiency.
  4. Wastewater and reclaim-water disinfection that can be used as general water in the plant.
  5. Ozone destruction, as ozonated water leaves the storage tank before entering the bottling lines. This method also provides the added benefit of secondary water disinfection after the ozone system. Water can be re-circulated from the storage tank back through the UV system in order to maintain bacteria reduction if ozone is not used.
  6. Chlorine destruction in the incoming city water before membrane filtration.

If you are considering installing your first UV system or replacing an existing unit, we can help. Download the UV Water Treatment in the Beverage Industry technical brief for more information, and contact us to discuss the best options for your application.