Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., the largest chicken company in the U.S., has received a 2008 ecomagination leadership award from GE Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Co., for achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, waste solids and water usage at its El Dorado, Ark. facility. The ecomagination award honors the company for achieving nearly $500,000 in annual operational savings and numerous environmental benefits.
A new ecomagination-certified GE wastewater treatment system, using entrapped air flotation technology (EAF), enables the El Dorado plant to reduce the amount of waste solids produced in the wastewater treatment system by 425,000 lb per week. This eliminates the need to transport the waste solids offsite, and reduces the associated greenhouse gas emissions from trucking by more than 800,000 lb per year—the amount of carbon dioxide that would be removed from the atmosphere by a one hundred acre forest.
The reductions are possible because the EAF system eliminates the use of 286,000 gal per year of ferric sulfate, a chemical that is commonly used to help remove contaminants from wastewater but can result in large amounts of waste solids. Pilgrim’s Pride also captures and reuses the high-quality effluent produced by the system, and currently recycles about 30,000 gpd to wash down outdoor areas and for non-contact cooling.
“GE’s extensive portfolio of advanced equipment and chemical treatment technologies is helping companies throughout the world to expand their sustainable business practices and achieve significant operational and environmental benefits,” said Jeff Garwood, president and CEO, GE Water & Process Technologies. “The solutions implemented by Pilgrim’s Pride not only provide positive benefits for the business, but also the community at large—by reducing the number of trucks on the road and the associated GHG emissions, waste solids going to landfill, and demands on potable water supplies. We are extremely pleased to honor Pilgrim’s Pride today for its commitment to making changes that produce big wins for the business and the environment.”
“The GE EAF wastewater treatment technology was selected for our El Dorado, Ark. processing plant following extensive onsite testing and an evaluation of other treatment equipment and options,” said Vernon Rowe, corporate environmental manager for Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation. “Based on the test results and evaluations, we were convinced that the GE EAF technology gave us the best opportunity to treat our wastewater to a higher quality with reduced chemical usage and reduced waste solids. As a matter of fact, what once were waste solids have now been turned into a valuable byproduct that is being processed at our Farmerville, La. protein conversion plant and being converted to a valuable protein source for poultry and animal feed. We are very pleased with the results we have achieved with the GE EAF technology and will be evaluating other opportunities to use the technology in similar applications.”
The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and GE Water & Process Technologies recently hosted the Georgia Water Solutions Forum in Atlanta on Dec. 10, 2007. Speakers at the forum, which included Senator Johnny Isakson, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Dr. Carol Couch and GE Vice Chairman John Rice all addressed the need to implement sound water stewardship practices and expand on everyone’s role in developing technology, policy and conservation strategies that can help the region reduce, reuse and replenish water supplies in Georgia.