dairy mbr treatment

Decades of experience.​​

Wastewater treatment for the dairy industry

Did you know that the dairy industry is the largest producer of wastewater within the food industry? By processing just 1 m3 of milk, up to double the amount of wastewater is generated. Most of this comes from cleaning processes. In addition, dairy wastewater contains raw materials from spills and tank unloading operations.

But what exactly covers the sector? Dairy processing covers the transformation of raw milk into several products such as pasteurized milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, and ice cream. The global consumption of these goods is huge and ever-increasing. And so is the amount of wastewater produced.

Dairy wastewater is characterized by a wide variability in composition and flow, partly due to over production and seasonal spikes. Up to 90% of the organic matter in dairy wastewater comes from the milk components, such as fat, proteins, and lactose. As a result, dairy wastewater is highly biodegradable, with BOD5 and COD ratios up to 0.8. 

In conclusion the dairy industry has a high impact on the environment and thus regulations are leading to high disposal costs. To overcome this there is a real need for more advanced technologies, such as biological treatment with ultrafiltration membranes. There are three main reasons to decide which technologies fits best: The tighter discharge limits and taxes, growing need for water reuse and the water scarcity in some regions. 

Challenges for wastewater treatment in the dairy industry


High variability in quality and quantity of wastewater.

High levels of BOD and COD

Which need to be reduced before discharged to municipal treatment facilities.


Presence of FOG and dissolved salts. ​


Presence of cleaning and sanitizing products, with potential toxicity and inhibitory effect.


Poor sludge settleability, hampering the conventional activated sludge processed

Tubular membrane solutions for dairy wastewater treatment​

Managing the variability of dairy wastewater, while maintaining the effluent quality required for discharge or reuse can be a real challenge. Thus the implementation of advanced and robust biological treatment technologies with tubular membranes can make a real change. 

Tubular UF membranes are known to provide the reliability and robustness required for treating the high-loaded dairy wastewater. Nowadays, more than 20 million m3 of dairy wastewater are treated every year with external MBRs based on Berghof tubular membranes. Some of these installations are anaerobic MBRs in waste – to – energy systems, promoting a more sustainable dairy activity day after day. 

Worldwide leading OEMs specialized in the dairy industry have put their confidence in Berghof’s technology. Milk, cheese, butter and other dairy factories are using our technology with great success. 

Applications of tubular UF membrane technology in dairy industry

MBR | Wastewater treatment

MBR Treatment is the best solution for wastewater with medium strenght (COD 5 - 10 g/L)
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AnMBR | Wastewater treatment

For the high-strength dairy effluents (COD > 10 - 15 g/L) anaerobic MBR is the best choice.
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Direct Filtration | Effluent polishing

Tertiary treatment for the highest effluent quality standards.
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Please choose the application that applies to you.
Is your application not listed? Then please contact us.


Compact AnMBR system for the Wisconsinbased dairy processor

Berghof Membranes, with its extensive experience in treating industrial effluent using PVDF tubular membranes, developed a compact AnMBR system for the Wisconsinbased dairy processor.

Manufactured in Germany


Made in a state-of-the art LEAN-production facility, with highly-trained production personnel and materials of the highest quality.


With 50 years of experience and more than 2.000 projects worldwide, Berghof Membranes is the leading manufacturer of high quality tubular ultrafiltration membranes.  

Tubular UF Membrane Modules

To prevent fouling and clogging, Berghof Membranes developed its line of robust tubular UF (ultrafiltration) membrane modules based on inside-out crossflow filtration. 

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Membrane Skid systems

Berghof Membranes developed B-SMART®, a customizable external membrane filtration system that can be designed with various features and functionalities. 

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Pilot systems & Lab testing

Bridging the gap between lab-scale testing and manufacturing. Our team of experts gives you the confidence to apply the technology for your specific wastewater challenges.

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B-CARE® Service and Support

The B-CARE® program is an end-to-end comprehensive program developed to support our OEM partners from the piloting/engineering phase to operational system monitoring.

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Case Studies

Our projects

50 years of experience and more than 2.000 project references across the globe.


AnMBR | Dairy Industry

A dairy processor in Richland County, Wisconsin needed to find an efficient process to generate electricity and heat from their wastewater and to further treat anaerobic industrial wastewater.

>> Read more

food_beverage (2)

MBR | Food & Beverages

In order to meet the increasing demand, Holland Malt has decided to double its
malting capacity. For this the company needed high-quality permeate to reuse for production.

>> Read more

recovery of valuable material metal and mining

Direct UF | Titanium Recovery

Our OEM-Partner needed to design a robust and adaptable UF system that could keep up with the high-solid streams and conditions of this demanding process while minimizing OPEX and fouling. 

>> Read more

Think outside the box

When it comes to membrane filtration, think outside the box and contact Berghof Membranes today.

More than just a membrane supplier

Contact Berghof Membranes

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Agora 4, 8934 CJ Leeuwarden, 
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Phone : + 31 (0)58 8100 110

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