American Proteins, Cuthbert, Ga, and Sanderson Farms, Flowood, Miss., were selected as winners of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s 2012 Clean Water Awards. Presented annually, the awards recognize excellence in the operation of wastewater treatment plants in the poultry industry. The presentations were made during USPOULTRY’s Environmental Management Seminar in Nashville, with the winners being selected by a committee made up of industry engineers and managers, university personnel, and state regulatory officials.

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.

American Proteins was selected as the winner in the full treatment category after being runner-up last year. The American Proteins’ plant in Cuthbert recycles inedible poultry parts into valuable protein ingredients used in products such as pet food and livestock feed. Through an aggressive water conservation program, 17 million gallons of water are recycled every day. One highlight of the operation is a new state of the art analytical laboratory, which has decreased the analysis time on wastewater samples. The facility averages 1.5 million cubic feet of biogas burned per week, which lowers its demand for natural gas and/or diesel fuel.

Sanderson Farms was selected as the winner in the pretreatment category for their further processing facility operation. The Flowood facility was recognized for its pretreatment of wastewater, which consists of flow equalization, primary clarification, biological treatment and secondary wastewater clarification. Several innovative processes were recognized, including the application of cationic and anionic polymers to neutralize the charge on particulate matter and efficient utilization of the primary dissolved air flotation unit.

Sanderson Farms of McComb, Miss., Marshall Durbin of Jasper, Ala., and West Liberty Foods of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, received honorable mention. Sanderson Farms received a plaque in the full treatment category. Marshall Durbin and West Liberty Foods each received a plaque in the pretreatment category.

“The poultry industry is recognized as a frontrunner in safeguarding our natural resources,” said USPOULTRY chairman Mark Ingram, Ingram Farms, Cullman, Ala. “U.S. Poultry & Egg Association continuously emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship by identifying excellence in environmental programs at our member companies. USPOULTRY also offers technical assistance and training in environmental management. Congratulations to these five companies for their excellent work.”