The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has named Simmons Foods of Southwest City, Missouri, and Keystone Foods of Reidsville, North Carolina, as winners of  the 2015 Clean Water Award. Presented annually, the award recognizes exemplary performance at water reclamation facilities serving the poultry industry. 

The Clean Water 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.

Simmons Foods was selected as the winner in the full treatment category for its further processing operation in Southwest City. The Southwest City complex processes and treats an average wastewater flow of 2.28 million gallons per day. The facility currently converts dissolved air flotation (DAF) skimmings into a valuable ingredient that is used in the production of a high-fat, high-protein, high-value cattle feed. This process allows more than 130 million pounds of material to be recycled into the food chain each year rather than being land-applied. The Southwest City complex’s rendering facility also utilizes roughly 5,000 boiler horsepower of thermal oxidizing technology to reduce odor emissions. The thermal oxidizers are a European technology, with Simmons Foods being the first to use this technology at a rending plant in the United States. One highlight of their operation is the facility’s water reuse program. The Southwest City Complex recycles between 300,000 to 350,000 gallons per day, or 18 percent of the total flow, of treated effluent for use at the complex. The recycled water has greatly reduced the volume Simmons Foods pumps from the Gasconade aquifer. The facility has been recycling their treated effluent since 1996, with the total volume of recycled water equaling approximately 2 billion gallons.

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From left: Mike Davis, director of engineering and environmental operations; Andy Brashear, area environmental manager; and Seth Walters, director of environmental quality, accepting the Clean Water Award from Paul Bredwell (second from left), vice president of environmental programs for USPOULTRY.

Keystone Foods was selected as the winner in the pretreatment category for its further processing facility in Reidsville. The Reidsville facility processes and treats an average wastewater flow of 185,000 thousand gallons per day. Biosolids generated in the dissolved air flotation unit are used by a local composting company to produce a high-value soil conditioner. Dissolved air flotation biosolids have not been landfilled since 1999. The facility has achieved landfill reduction through compactors with monitoring systems, recycling, using a Planet Aid bin and composting wax boxes. Since 2008, the facility has reduced the amount of waste sent to the landfill by more than 55 percent, with the goal to be landfill free by 2020. One focal point of the facility’s operation is the water reuse program. The facility is currently implementing two Six Sigma water projects involving the use of valves to restrict water and the installation of timers to shut down the process when the lines are shut down. The facility also tracks its total water usage and has completed an analysis for water availability and scarcity risk.

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The winner in the pre-treatment category was Keystone Foods, with Tina Williams, environmental manager for Keystone Foods, accepting the award from Paul Bredwell, vice president of environmental programs for USPOULTRY.

Claxton Poultry Farms, Claxton, Georgia, and Tyson Foods River Valley Animal Foods, Scranton, Arkansas, received honorable mention with distinction in the full treatment category.

“The poultry industry has been a well-known leader in conserving natural resources,” said USPOULTRY chairman, Sherman Miller, Cal-Maine Foods, Jackson, Mississippi. “USPOULTRY continues to emphasize the value of environmental stewardship by recognizing excellence in environmental programs at our member companies, while also offering technical assistance and training in environmental management to our members. Congratulations to these four companies for their excellent example.”

The presentations were made during USPOULTRY’s Environmental Management Seminar in Destin, Florida, and the winners were selected by a committee of industry engineers, managers and university personnel.