Water Reuse in a Poultry Facility
Hudson Foods completed, in the fall of 1995, a $1,038,000 capital improvement program at its Noel, Missouri facility. In the months following completion, Hudson consistently produced an effluent that was of extraordinary quality, far beyond the requirements of NPDES permit MO-0002500. Listed in the table below are actual data from January 1996 - date versus permit limits for the major constituents present in Hudson's discharge.
|BOD (ppm)||TSS||Ammonia (ppm)|
|Permit Limits||30||30||7 winter, 4 summer|
|1/96 - 3/97 Average||8.4||9.1||0.91|
During this same time period, the Noel Water Company, which supplies potable water to the Hudson facility, had increasing difficulty meeting the water demand of the facility. Noel Water Company indicated it may be necessary to install another well in the Roubidoux Aquifer. Consequently, Hudson management began investigating means of water conservation/pollution prevention in the fall of 1996.
Presented below are the four phases of the Pollution Prevention/Water Reuse Project, the results of the efforts, and the environmental, economic and community benefits of these efforts.
POLLUTION PREVENTION/WATER REUSE PROJECT
Hudson's efforts to reduce its water use have taken the form of four phases to date, with the final phase still ongoing. The elements of those phases are as described below:
Phase I (October 1996) - In the initial phase, management emphasis was placed on eliminating unnecessary water usage in the production facility. Weekend water usage was reduced to minimums, excessive washdown was eliminated and, in general, employees were made aware of the need to conserve water. No significant capital expenditures were necessary for this phase of the project.
Phase II (November 1996) - Hudson began reusing its superior quality effluent in this second phase. There are a number of areas, particularly in the Protein Recovery plant, where nonpotable water use is acceptable. Examples of this included water for the plant scrubbing system, and equipment and facility washdown water. Pumping systems were obtained, and piping systems modified and expanded to allow the use of this high quality, recycled effluent water in areas where nonpotable water usage is acceptable. Investment for this phase was $5,700.
Phase III (February 1996) - The third phase continued the recycling of the superior quality effluent; with the important distinction that recycled water was, for the first time, allowed to enter portions of the facility subject to USDA inspection and regulation. Plant offal screening systems utilize wash bars to keep the screens clear. A portion of the screened water is pumped back to the production area to flush offal materials to the screens. Commencing late February 1997, superior quality effluent from the wastewater treatment system was substituted for potable water in the screen wash bars. There is no contact of effluent water with product. Investment to accomplish this change was $10,500.
Phase IV - The facility's current phase builds upon the success of Phase III in utilizing the superior quality effluent water in nonpotable uses in production areas inspected and regulated by USDA. In partnership with USDA, Hudson is developing a data base to demonstrate the excellent quality of the effluent, and comparing those results to National Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Limits established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the requirements by USDA for water reuse in production areas. Efforts are focused currently on first replacing potable water use in vacuum systems with effluent, and, as the database demonstrates the consistency of quality, expansion to other nonpotable uses in the processing plant. Part of the efforts is dedicated to developing a QA/QC program to ensure both Hudson and USDA acceptable quality standards are maintained when using effluent water. There will be no contact of effluent water with product. Total capital expenditures for this phase are anticipated to be $25,000.
Figure 1 lists the decreasing level of pollutant loading to the Elk River in this period.
Figure 2 demonstrates the reduction in total facility potable water consumption for the period October 1996 to March 1997.
- Reduction in pollutant discharge. During the period April 1996 - October 1996, the facility averaged 118 lb/day BOD discharge and 122 lb/day TSS discharge. During November 1996 - March 1997, or as the Pollution Prevention/Water Reuse Project was phased in, BOD discharge fell by 69%, to 37 lb/day, and TSS discharge fell by 67%, or 41 lb/day. On an annual basis, this project will reduce BOD discharge by 31,025 lb, and TSS by 29,565. Although the discharge limits are protective of the Elk River, removal of these pollutants far beyond permit requirements can only further improve stream quality. These reductions are directly related to the project. The combination of less water discharge, together with superior treatment plant performance due to increased retention time, have netted this pollutant discharge reduction.
- Reduced demand on the Roubidoux Aquifer. Water purchased from the Noel Water Company has fallen from an average of 46.25 million gallons per month (April - Oct. 1996) to 37.43 million gallons/month (Nov. 1996 to date). During the last two months, with the first three phases of the project fully implemented, water usage has fallen further to 34.15 million gallons/month. On annual basis, this reduction represents 145.2 million gallons per year that no longer needs to be pumped by the Noel Water Company from the Roubidoux Aquifer. Hudson believes that, when Phase IV is fully implemented another 6 million gallons/month (72 million gallons annually) will be saved.
- Improved plant scrubber performance. The plant operates three air scrubbers for odor control at the facility. The use of greatly increased volumes of essentially free recycled water has maximized the performance of these units.
- Decreased chlorine and sulfur dioxide usage. The facility utilizes chlorine to disinfect the effluent prior to discharge during summer months. The effluent is also dechlorinated using sulfur dioxide so essentially no chlorine is discharged to the Elk River. Therefore, implementing this project has not directly reduced the discharge of chlorine to the Elk since all chlorine has been removed. However, the likelihood of inadvertent release due to chlorine gas (or sulfur dioxide) cylinder changeover has been greatly reduced. With lower flows, change out frequency has been reduced 25%.
- At current usage rates, Hudson is enjoying annual savings of over $50,000 in potable water purchases.
- When Phase IV is implemented, this will increase further to over $75,000 annually.
- The quality of the Elk River is enhanced by reduced pollutant discharge. Noel is a resort community and preservation of the Elk is important to the entire community.
- Preserve the use of the Roubidoux Aquifer for future generations by carefully conserving that resource today.
- Further enhancement of scrubber performance positively affects the quality of life for all Noel residents and visitors.
Moderate manpower and capital requirements were necessary to achieve the results noted above. These expenditures have been more than justified by the economic, environmental and community benefits that have been provided.
Hudson's need to maintain a wholesome sanitary product, coupled with USDA regulations concerning water reuse in a production facility, limit how much water can be recycled at any single plant. However, Hudson has applied the lessons learned at Noel to other facilities in recent months, as noted below:
- Springfield, MO Turkey Plant - Initiated a water conservation and reuse plan in January 1997. Kicked off campaign by bringing in nationally recognized expert in poultry plant water conservation to conduct supervisor training. Savings of 50,000 gallons per day have been noted to date in this ongoing project.
- Corydon, IN Broiler Plant - Recently completed pretreatment system upgrade allows recycling of plant effluent to washdown and cooling water uses. Savings currently are 100,000 gal/day of potable water. Planned for Summer 1997: using effluent in cooling towers for an additional 100,000 gal/day water savings.
- Henderson, KY Broiler Plant- Hudson recently completed an agreement with the local POTW (located adjacent to our facility) to reuse POTW effluent in our large Protein Recovery facility for washdown and cooling water. Daily savings of 200,000 gallons.
Hudson's Water Reuse/Pollution Prevention Project at Noel has resulted in substantial recycling of the plant's effluent to various usages throughout the production facility. Hudson, with only moderate capital and manpower commitments, has produced a number of environmental, economic and community benefits with this project. Further, Hudson has applied the knowledge gained at Noel to other company facilities, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to wise use of water resources.