Poultry processor Allen Harim Foods has assured residents of Millsboro, Del., it will be a good neighbor if it takes ownership of a closed pickle plant in the community. Allen Harim Foods in April announced its intent to purchase a plant owned by Pinnacle Foods that was used to produce Vlassic pickles.

The deal, valued at around $100 million, would enable the company to expand into new markets and focus on specialty chicken products. It would also bring about 700 jobs to the area.

Allen Harim explained its environmental policy and plans during a recent public meeting in Millsboro, offering residents a better idea of what it might be like if the company takes over the plant.

"We want to be a good neighbor. We want this to work," said Matt Hamilton, senior manager of sales for Allen Harim. 

Hamilton said that the company actually plans to reduce the environmental impact from what Pinnacle Foods had while it was in the Millsboro facility, through various upgrades, including a new wastewater system.

"Our preliminary guidelines from Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control are stricter than Vlasic's," he said. "Vlasic had nine wastewater discharge points. We will close some of those, which will reduce the stormwater released into Wharton's Branch. We will treat the remaining water before it goes into the streams, resulting in a high quality of water." 

Hamilton said that the Pinnacle Foods' permits allowed the company to pump out 3.8 million gallons of water per day, whereas Allen Harim only plans to pump 800,000 gallons per day. He added that the company plans to draw water from the deepest aquifer on the property, rather than the top aquifer, which provides well water to many nearby residential properties.

Hamilton said the water leaving the plant would be treated to the point where it would be safe enough to drink and that employees have actually consumed water discharged from another such facility.

Concerns about odors were also addressed. Hamilton said it should not be an issue, as the company will be using the latest in technology that has not yet been brought into the United States. The plans for the $100 million plant include the installation of an exhaust air scrubber, commonly used in Europe for swine operations, continues the Coastal Point report. The scrubber has three components: a physical filter, a chemical filter and a biological filter.

In addition, rendering products will be removed by refrigerated trucks within three hours.

Once the plant opens, traffic will increase by about 85 large tractor-trailer trucks per day, but the company is currently looking for alternative routes to the plant, looking at alternatives routes or possibly retaining an easement agreement or purchasing a piece of property to get an entrance right to the back of the plant.

"We are trying to minimize the traffic and make it as easy on ourselves to get in and out of the plant, as well," he said. "The state will be involved. They will be doing studies and tell us what to do to best handle that."

He added that traffic on the weekends would be minimal. 

Allen Harim Foods operates poultry processing facilities in Harbeson, Del., and Cordova, Md.; breeding operations in Liberty, N.C.; and a hatchery, feed mill and corporate office in Seaford, Del.