The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has awarded the 2021 Clean Water Award to Tyson Foods in Nashville, Arkansas, and Tyson Foods in Berryville, Arkansas. 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. An announcement of the recognition of the Clean Water Award recipients was made during USPOULTRY’s Environmental Management Seminar.

Award recipients were recognized 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 facilities 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.

Tyson Foods was selected the winner in the full treatment category for its Tyson Poultry, Inc. facility in Nashville, Arkansas. The complex generates an average wastewater flow of 1.2 million gallons per day, processes 200,000 birds per day and produces 1.6 million pounds of cooked product per day. In addition to treating its wastewater to discharge levels that are an order of magnitude below its permit limits, the Nashville, Arkansas, plant received a UL certification for achieving Zero Waste to Landfill in 2021. Currently, the Tyson Foods Nashville plant diverts 99 percent of their waste away from a landfill.

A notable accomplishment is the Tyson Foods Nashville facility’s handling and recycling of contaminated plastic. This material has created challenges for the entire poultry industry, and it has long been difficult to manage other than disposing in a landfill. Tyson Foods in Nashville has solved the problem by working with a third-party vendor that has developed a process to recycle the material into beads that can be used to produce plastic products.  

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Tyson Foods was also selected as the winner in the pretreatment category for its further processing facility in Berryville, Arkansas. The Tyson Poultry Berryville wastewater treatment plant generates roughly 0.75 million gallons per day of wastewater and produces about 716,000 pounds of cooked chicken products. Despite generating high-strength wastewater resulting from the production of numerous marinated and further cooked products, the wastewater treatment plant treats the wastewater well below the permit limits established by the public wastewater treatment facility. Furthermore, the recent addition of an oil filtration system has allowed the Berryville wastewater treatment facility to reduce the amount of oil entering the wastewater treatment plant. The filter cake produced by the new filtration system is recycled as a source of animal feed ingredients.

Tyson Foods was further recognized with an honorable mention with distinction award in the full treatment category for its Tyson Poultry facility in Dardanelle, Arkansas. Pilgrim’s Pride in Gainesville, Georgia, was recognized with an honorable mention with distinction award in the pretreatment category. 

“We received several terrific applications for this year’s Clean Water Awards, and they should all be commended,” said Greg Hinton, Rose Acre Farms, and USPOULTRY chairman. “The quality of the applications received is representative of our members’ unwavering commitment to wastewater treatment and the conservation of our earth’s natural resources. Congratulations to this year’s winners.”