The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has awarded the 2019 Clean Water Award to Pilgrim’s in Sanford, North Carolina, and Tyson Foods in Seguin, Texas. The award is presented annually to poultry facilities that go above and beyond in their commitment to sustainable 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, Florida.

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 allow 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.

Pilgrim's Pride award

Pilgrim’s was selected in the full treatment category for their broiler processing plant in Sanford, North Carolina. The facility processes approximately 132,000 birds per day and generates an average wastewater flow of 1.2 million gallons per day. Unique to the Sanford facility is its system of incorporating a dissolved air flotation (DAF) unit to treat wastewater effluent from the anaerobic basin. This has resulted in a reduction in the amount biosolids entering the activated biological treatment system. Biosolids collected in the DAF are dewatered by a belt press and disposed of offsite. This system and a recently added anoxic tank have greatly increased Sanford’s efficiency in removing nitrogen from the wastewater. They have also identified a process that allows them to lessen the impact of peracetic acid on their wastewater treatment system. By placing a monitor directly outside the plant wall, they are able to test the water for peracetic acid and neutralize the substance immediately. In addition to their innovative processes, the facility emphasizes the importance of continual training for their personnel and management staff, as well as being involved in environmental efforts and wildlife management in the local community. The facility reclaims approximately 400,000 gallons of water per day, equating to 104,000,000 gallons per year.

Tyson Foods award

Tyson Foods’ broiler processing facility in Seguin, Texas, was chosen as the winner in the pretreatment category. The facility processes approximately 250,000 birds per day and generates an average wastewater flow of 1.7 million gallons per day. In the last year, the Seguin plant has installed a polymer makeup system that maximizes the effectiveness of the polymers by delivering a precise dosage to the DAF systems. They have a re-use system in the plant that collects and filters water from their inside and outside bird washings, which is then re-used upstream in the eviscerating and picking areas. This allows the facility to re-use approximately 200,000 gallons of water per day, reducing their demand of potable water. The Seguin plant also utilizes various recycling programs to minimize waste sent to landfills. 

Honorable mention

Honorable mention with distinction awards were presented to Sanderson Farms in Waco, Texas, and Tyson Foods in Nashville, Arkansas, in the full treatment category. Tyson Foods in Robards, Kentucky, received an honorable mention with distinction award in the pretreatment category.

“We received several outstanding applications for this year’s Clean Water Awards, and they should all be praised,” said John Prestage, Prestage Farms, and USPOULTRY chairman. “The quality 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.”