Tyson Foods Fresh Retail Division complex manager, Bob Johnson, defined the challenge facing poultry industry environmental managers across America. He was talking about his chicken processing complex in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, but it applies – to one degree or another – to all poultry production operations:

“There’s something to be said about putting your poultry wastewater facility on ‘Main Street.’ Ours is on the main street of Wilkesboro that runs within 50 feet of the building. And if you want to meet the mayor or anybody on the town council, just go across the street and they will be there eating lunch at Glenn’s Restaurant. They can all look across the street and see the facility where odors or spills or anything like that might occur."

Be proactive in the community

The nature of challenge facing environmental managers in the poultry industry is more than managing the chemical, biological and hydraulic properties of wastewater. It is holistic, and it involves managing the whole operation to keep the poultry wastewater discharge cleaner and community relations positive.


That’s why the poultry wastewater plant, in fact, is only a part of the total wastewater management challenge. It starts with things like the management of stormwater run-off from the live-receiving area and continues into how a plant’s wastewater management personnel interact with the municipal authorities and local civic groups.

Wilkesboro wastewater management team

Johnson has held a wide variety of positions with Tyson Foods for 55 years, so it means something when he says James Brown, the environmental manager at the Wilkesboro complex, and his wastewater management team, are among the best.

The article, “Making poultry wastewater community-friendly,” provides a close look at their accomplishments at the Wilkesboro poultry wastewater treatment operation, which won the 2014 U.S. Poultry & Egg Association Clean Water Award in the wastewater pretreatment category.