Koch Foods of Gadsden, Alabama, and Tyson Foods of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, have been awarded U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) 2014 Clean Water Awards. Presented annually, the award recognizes exemplary performance at water reclamation facilities serving the poultry industry. 

The presentations were made during USPOULTRY’s Environmental Management Seminar in Destin, Florida, and the winners were selected by a committee 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.

Koch Foods wins full treatment Clean Water Award

Koch Foods’ Gadsden facility processes 400,000 birds per day and treats an average wastewater flow of one million gallons per day. The facility’s covered anaerobic lagoon provides odor control and traps methane gas. Not only does this reduce the plant’s carbon footprint, but the gas is a source of green energy utilized and burned in the plant’s boiler unit.

One highlight of the operation is the facility’s water reuse program. Inside the plant, water used to chill and rinse the birds is cleaned and sent back to be reused in other areas. Koch Foods has also installed an additional dissolved air flotation (DAF) unit that reduces the concentration of phosphorus in the final effluent to less than 1mg/l. Koch Foods captures and treats stormwater runoff before discharging it, allowing it to achieve very low stormwater effluent bacterial levels.

Tyson Foods wins in pretreatment category

Tyson Foods Fresh Retail Division Wilkesboro complex is made up of a poultry processing plant capable of processing two million birds per week and a food service plant producing primarily fabricated fully cooked products for restaurant and international customers. The complex’s wastewater facility treats an average flow of two and half million gallons per day.

One focal point of the complex’s operation is the facilities water reuse program in which 1.5 million gallons of water used to wash birds is cleaned and recycled back into various areas of the facility. To address the potential presence of bacteria in stormwater runoff, trenches have been constructed across the live haul and dust collector areas to divert stormwater to the wastewater treatment plant. The processing facility recently constructed additional stormwater collection pits to catch runoff from live sheds and receiving areas to provide additional treatment of stormwater runoff that comes in contact with live animal handling areas.

Honorable mention

Wayne Farms, Danville, Arkansas, and Tyson Foods River Valley Animal Foods, Scranton, Arkansas, received honorable mention in the full treatment category. Fieldale Farms, Gainesville, Georgia, received honorable mention in the pretreatment category.

“The poultry industry is well-recognized for its leadership in conserving natural resources,” said USPOULTRY chairman Elton Maddox, Wayne Farms, Oakwood, Georgia. “USPOULTRY continues to highlight the importance of environmental stewardship by identifying excellence in environmental programs at our member companies, while also offering technical assistance and training in environmental management to our members. We would like to congratulate these five companies for their excellent work.”