Cargill Aims to Reduce Nitrogen Discharge in Waste Water in Colo. Facility

Cargill is in the design phase of a project that, when completed, should significantly improve the quality of water discharged into the South Platte River from its beef processing facility in Fort Morgan, Colorado.

Improvements will address discharge of total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) and phosphorous, as well as provide improved biogas production, capture, and use from organic materials in the facility's waste water, according to Cargill. Work is expected to begin mid-2011 and slated to be complete by the third quarter of 2012, at a cost that is currently estimated to be more than $6 million.

The project is part of an ongoing water quality upgrade initiative by Cargill's Fort Morgan facility, which has already reduced nitrate discharge into waterways by approximately 70 percent from 2005 through 2009, a figure verified by publicly available U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) information.

"While we are proud of the strides we have made in areas such as methane gas capture and use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reduce our energy requirements by using methane gas to provide 30 percent of the facility's total fuel needs, we are always looking for ways to improve our environmental footprint," said Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, assistant vice president and general manager at Cargill's Fort Morgan beef processing facility.

Cargill's Fort Morgan facility has been ISO 14001 certified since 2008. Opened in 1966, the facility's 2,000 employees harvest approximately 1.2 million head of cattle annually.

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