DISPOSAL OF BURNT MOLASSES FROM BSI
Earlier this year in July, the Department of the Environment (DOE) was made aware of a situation at the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) Ltd.’s Tower Hill Factory with respect to molasses undergoing the Maillard reaction in their storage tanks. Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between the sugars and proteins in the molasses that occurs upon heating and produces a browning or burnt effect with a thick, dark black appearance and lower pH. The molasses solidifies and expands upon cooling, and hence, is rendered useless; however it has the potential to contaminate the environment. BSI reported that burnt molasses from both a storage tank and a barge needed to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. As such, after an assessment of all possible options available to dispose of the burnt molasses, the DOE agreed to the most feasible option achievable under the conditions existing at the time, which included the following steps:
1. The disposal of the burnt molasses in BSI’s old quarry pit, which has the capacity to accommodate the volume produced by the Maillard reaction, in order for it to biodegrade over time;
2. Clean up of areas containing spilled molasses to prevent any runoff into any nearby water body; and
3. Develop a programme to rehabilitate any affected ponds in the wastewater treatment system.
In order to avoid any contamination to the surrounding environment and water bodies, the pit will be monitored by BSI daily during the rainy season. To reduce the risk of a reoccurrence of the Maillard reaction, BSI will install a “cooling system” for production of final molasses, as well as a “temperature monitoring system” of the final molasses.