GNP Company of Saint Cloud, Minn., and Marshall Durbin of Jasper, Ala., have been awarded U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s 2013 Clean Water Award. Koch Foods of Gadsden, Ala., received honorable mention in the full treatment category.

Presented annually, the award recognizes excellence in the operation of wastewater treatment plants in the poultry industry. The presentations were made during USPOULTRY’s Environmental Management Seminar, held in New Orleans. The winners were selected by a committee made up of industry engineers and managers, university personnel, and retired state regulatory officials.

Awards are presented in two categories, full treatment and pretreatment. The full treatment category covers facilities that fully reclaim wastewater prior to discharge into a receiving stream or final land application system. The pretreatment category includes facilities that discharge pretreated effluent to publicly-owned, full treatment facilities. To be eligible, a facility must have a minimum of two years of no significant non-compliances or notices of violations or any other type of enforcement action.

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GNP Company was selected as the winner in the full treatment category for their poultry processing operation in Saint Cloud. The Saint Cloud facility processes an average of 1.4 million gallons of water per day, with 400,000 to 500,000 gallons reused in the processing plant. The facility utilizes state-of-the-art membrane bioreactor technology for wastewater treatment, the only known poultry processing plant utilizing this technology. In the membrane bioreactor system, water is vacuumed through the membrane filter and then passes through a network of hollow strings, resulting in clear water with almost no solid particles. GNP’s Saint Cloud facility typically achieves an effluent turbidity of 0.1 to 0.3, which is substantially lower than what can be achieved with other treatment methods. The system is 100 percent automated and runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The system also features biological phosphorus and ammonia nitrogen removal, which addresses increased pressure by state and federal environmental regulatory agencies to reduce the level of nutrients in treated wastewater.

Marshall Durbin was selected as the winner in the pretreatment category. Marshall Durbin’s Jasper facility processes 210,000 birds per day, five days a week. The company’s wastewater facility processes about one million gallons per day. The facility uses a vacuum system to transfer solids from the plant to the screening room. Installation of the vacuum system has reduced pollutant loads in the wastewater and decreased water usage throughout the facility. One highlight of their operation is the use of a flow-track system that administers accurate dosages of polymers (cationic and anionic) and bentonite clay to the wastewater. The system provides the operator with more control over excessive water flow and chemical changes in wastewater, due to changes in plant operation.

“The poultry industry is recognized as a leader in conserving our natural resources,” said USPOULTRY chairman James Adams, Wenger Feeds, Rheems, Pa. “U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is constantly calling attention to the importance of environmental stewardship by identifying excellence in environmental programs at our member companies. USPOULTRY also offers technical assistance and training in environmental management. Congratulations to these three companies for their excellent example.”