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Wastewater Management

GRI Content Index

Water and chemicals are consumed extensively in our dyeing processes. For this reason, we have a strong interest and responsibility in reducing our water consumption footprint in additional to using chemicals in our products that do not contain substances that are harmful to humans or the environment. We are continually devising ways to minimize our water use and enhance the quality of our wastewater effluent as well as aiming to recycle more water throughout the various stages of our manufacturing processes. In addition, we are continuing to research programs designed to enable water recycling.

  • The Gildan Biotop System

    The Biotop, located in our Honduran and Dominican Republic facilities, is our highly efficient biological wastewater treatment system. The Biotop system has been in use since these facilities’ inception.

    The purpose of the system is to treat wastewater through a series of interconnected lagoons. The lagoons naturally stabilize the wastewaters’ pH. Gildan’s Biotop wastewater treatment process has yielded excellent results while maintaining an extremely rich ecosystem beside our production facilities. Some of the important advantages of Gildan’s Biotop over traditional chemical-based treatment systems include:

    • Bacteria virtually eliminates all dyes and chemicals
    • No additional chemicals are introduced into the system
    • Virtually no incremental energy is required to process the effluent
    • No harm is done to the aquatic life in the receiving river and its ecosystem. In fact, several species of birds and fish have been spotted in the lagoons area
    • No fossil fuels are needed to power the system
    • The 40-day retention time in the system protects against sudden changes in production or accidental spills of dangerous liquids in the production process
    • Water entering the local ecosystem is free of all contaminants and is continuously monitored for compliance with local requirements
    • The treated water is released into a drainage channel that flows into the nearest river.

    Wastewater sent for treatment to the Biotop is monitored in accordance with the following indicators: biological oxygen demand (BOD5); chemical oxygen demand (COD); pH; total dissolved solids (TDS); total suspended solid (TSS); oxygen; oil and grease; temperature; coliform bacteria; colour; Kjeldahl nitrogen; ammonial nitrogen; phosphorus; detergents; phenols; sulfide; and heavy metals. Gildan does not discharge water into any protected rivers and/or wetlands.

    Strict controls are enforced on all the effluents discharged from our wastewater treatment plants. Each treatment facility is required to meet local discharge regulations. 

    Strict controls are enforced on all the effluents discharged from our wastewater treatment plants. Each treatment facility is required to meet local discharge regulations. 

      Wastewater volumes (m3)
    Year Municipal (Pre-treated*) Other recipients (Treated*)
    2016 754,759 15,779,518
    2015 636,118   17,681,202

     *Pre-treated totals represent process effluent quantities discharged to a municipal sewage network for later treatment at a municipal waste water treatment facility. Treated totals represent effluent quantities discharged to subsurface waters, surface waters, sewers that lead to rivers, oceans, lakes, wetlands and groundwater after treatment in Gildan owned effluent treatment facilities and meeting regional and/or national regulations.  

  • Use of a biological reactor to enhance the effluent treatment process

    Gildan completed the construction of a new biological reactor for the treatment of the effluents from our most recent textile facility (Rio Nance V). The new system began operations in December 2014. The system runs in parallel to our Biotop system and was put in place to add to our wastewater treatment capacity.

    As part of our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint while continuing to maintain operational efficiency, Gildan determined that biological oxidation represents an advantageous wastewater treatment process for the above referenced facility. Biological oxidation provides effective wastewater treatment at a low operational cost. The biological reactor will work in tandem with the Biotop system in order to guarantee a continuous and safe wastewater treatment system. Gildan’s biological reactor represents an additional environmental safeguard and socially responsible solution.

    When researching options for the new effluent treatment plant at this facility, Gildan sought for an optimal solution based on the following criteria:

    • Environmental friendliness and respect for the environment. These concepts are at the core of Gildan’s operating procedures;
    • Reliability: the chosen system must run 24/7 and must comply with the latest environmental regulations at all times;
    • The use of long-lasting and leading-edge equipment from industry leaders This allows for maximum reliability for the continuous support of our production processes.

    The biological oxidation reactor chosen met each of the above criteria. In addition, this system optimizes land use as it does not require a significant operating land footprint.