The Gildan Biotop® System
Gildan has created a highly efficient biological wastewater treatment system at its Honduras and Dominican Republic plants. The Biotop® system has been in use since the facilities’ inception, in 2002.
The purpose of the system is to treat wastewater through a series of lagoons in which pH is naturally stabilized. Biotop® is a wastewater treatment process that has yielded excellent results while maintaining an extremely rich ecosystem just beside our production facilities. It provides a number of important advantages over traditional chemical-treatment based systems:
- Bacteria virtually eliminate 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
- Water treated by this biological system is suitable for agricultural use in surrounding communities which in fact helps local farmers
- The system does not consume fossil fuels
- 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 clean water is then released into a drainage channel that flows into the nearest river
The water discharged in 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; nitrogen kjedahl; nitrogen ammonia; phosphorus; detergents; phenols; sulfide; and heavy metal.
Gildan does not discharge water into any protected rivers or wetlands.
We enforce a strict control of all the effluents discharge from our wastewater treatment. Each facility is obligated to meet the local regulation as well as the Gildan standards. The Gildan standards for effluents were created to establish a target level for all the facilities. If we operate in a country where there is no specific regulation for the wastewater or where the regulation is very basic, the facility is nevertheless obligated to meet the stringent Gildan Corporate Standard. To develop this standard, we have listed the regulations of all the countries in which we operate, in addition to widely-accepted international standards, and selected the highest norm to include in the Gildan Corporate Standard, which is applied at all of our facilities.
The table below is an example of parameters we monitor at our Biotop®. For each of these parameters, the table shows our own corporate standard, as well as our 2012 measurements. Gildan’s performance for all the parameters exceeds the standard.
DEMAND (COD) [MG/L]
SOLIDS (TSS) [MG/L]
GILDAN CORPORATE STANDARD 200.00 50.00 50.00 30.00 5.00 HONDURAS STANDARD 200.00 50.00 50.00 30.00 5.00 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC STANDARD 150.00 50.00 50.00 30.00 5.00 BIOTOP AVERAGE 2012 144.87 30.39 34.80 4.95 2.26
Use of a biological reactor to enhance the effluent treatment process
Following our success with the Biotop® system, Gildan has initiated a new biological reactor for the treatment of our most recently constructed textile facility’s (Rio Nance V) effluents. The new system is scheduled to commence operations by April 2013.
As part of our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint while maintaining operational efficiencies, after careful research and consideration, Gildan has determined that biological oxidation represents an advantageous wastewater treatment process for this facility. This is due to two factors: its positive results and its low operational costs. The biological reactor will work in tandem with the Biotop® in order to guarantee a continuous and safe wastewater treatment system. Gildan’s biological reactor represents an environmentally friendly and socially responsible solution.
While researching options for effluent treatment at our new textile facility, Gildan looked for the optimal solution based on the following criteria:
- Environmentally friendly: respect for the ecology has always been one of Gildan’s pillars.
- Socially responsible: our treatment plants not only clean water, they also create jobs; we focus on improving the quality of life of our employees through training and education programs for them and their families.
- Reliable: the system must run 24/7 and must comply with the latest environmental regulations at all times.
- Long-lasting and technologically-advanced: only leading-edge equipment from the most renowned manufacturers is installed at Gildan facilities in order to ensure maximum quality and continuous support to our production processes.
The biological reactor met all these criteria. In addition, since it does not require significant space, this system optimizes land use when the available land is limited.