The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has awarded the 2018 Clean Water Award to Wayne Farms in Pendergrass, Ga., and Pilgrim’s in Guntersville, Ala. The award is presented annually to poultry facilities that are excelling in their efforts at wastewater treatment and water reuse. The winners were chosen by a committee of industry engineers, university personnel and industry media. Awards were presented during USPOULTRY’s Environmental Management Seminar in Destin, Fla.

Awards are presented in two categories, full treatment and pretreatment. The full treatment category encompasses plants that treat wastewater in accordance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits that allows the facility to discharge into a receiving stream or final land application system. The pretreatment category includes facilities that discharge pretreated effluent to a publicly-owned, full treatment facility for further treatment. 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.

Wayne Farms was selected in the full treatment category for their broiler processing plant in Pendergrass, Ga. The facility processes approximately 130,000 birds per day and generates an average wastewater flow of 390,000 gallons per day. The Pendergrass processing facility was one of the first poultry processing plants in the industry to install and operate a membrane biological reactor system, achieving ultra-filtration of all discharge water. As such, the facility produces an extremely high-quality effluent. The facility’s discharge water consistently exceeds instream water quality, resulting in an overall improvement of water quality downstream of the processing plant. The Pendergrass facility places strong emphasis on water conservation and reuse programs. The facility reclaims approximately 115,000 gallons per day of reuse water, which equates to 29,900,000 gallons per year. This represents a direct reduction of potable water – a vital natural resource.


Pilgrim’s broiler processing facility in Guntersville, Ala., was chosen as the winner in the pretreatment category. The facility processes approximately 300,000 birds per day and generates an average wastewater flow of 1.35 million gallons per day. In 2015, the Guntersville plant conducted a facility improvement and process streamline project that resulted in a dissolved air flotation unit being replaced and the installation of four new polymer mixing tanks. New variable frequency drives on process pumps and a programmable logic controller were also installed to control wastewater process pump speed and flow. Water and water reuse are priorities at Pilgrim’s and critical pillars in the company’s sustainability program. The facility conducts routine audits throughout the plant to identify areas of opportunity and waste elimination. Water usage data is tracked and monitored hourly in each area and for all shifts. The plant is currently designing a system to reuse chiller water overflow.

Honorable mention awards were presented to Sanderson Farms in Waco, Texas, in the full treatment category and Tyson Foods in Sequin, Texas, in the pre-treatment category.

“We received many remarkable applications for this year’s Clean Water Awards, and they should all be commended,” said Tom Hensley, Fieldale Farms, and USPOULTRY chairman. “The caliber of the applications received is indicative of our members’ commitment to wastewater treatment and the conservation of our earth’s natural resources. Congratulations to this year’s winners.”