Agribusiness  September 14, 2010

Leprino buys land for wastewater treatment

GREELEY – Leprino Foods is already expanding its site in east Greeley, with construction of the cheese-making plant just beginning.

The global mozzarella producer is under contract to buy 18 acres of the former Meyer Feedlot east of its existing site off U.S. Highway 85 to build its own renewable wastewater treatment facility, said Greeley planner Mike Garrott.

The Greeley Planning Commission was scheduled Tuesday to consider the company’s plans to house an aerobic and anaerobic wastewater treatment facility on the land. The company this summer began construction on its 847,000-square-foot cheese plant, which is expected to open November 2011 and eventually employ up to 500 people.

The company always had plans to build its own treatment facility but ran out of room at the site between 13th and 16th streets on First Avenue. Project engineer Christopher Docket wrote to the Greeley Planning Department that Leprino “has insufficient space to accommodate a wastewater treatment facility capable of treating the anticipated waste stream generated by Leprino’s production facility.”

If granted planning commission approval – the request does not need a vote by the city council – the treatment facility will occupy 14 acres of the 70-acre site, while existing sand and gravel operations continue as they have since 2000. Aggregate Industries has leased the property from the current landowner, the Greeley Urban Renewal Authority. The Leprino portion of the site will include the necessary equipment, plus a 3.5-acre, 12-foot holding lagoon that will have a capacity of about 12 million gallons of effluent.

The treatment facility will include anaerobic digestion, a process that reduces the amount of organic matter that would otherwise be dumped into the city’s wastewater treatment system.

“If it has less impact on our existing wastewater system, that would be a positive,” Garrott said. “They could potentially utilize the city system temporarily while under construction, but we’re not aware of how the timing will work out. They’re proposing a November 2011 date to open. If this is fully functional by then, I don’t know.”

Typically, such systems are used as sources of renewable energy from the resulting methane and carbon dioxide-rich biogas. Garrott said the nutrient-rich digestate also can be used as fertilizer.

Garrott said he’s not aware of any concern from area landowners about the treatment facility.

The site for years housed the Meyer Feedlot, once one of the prime sources of concern about Greeley’s infamous smell prior to GURA acquiring it in the late 1990s. Garrott said Leprino plans to build the facility to minimize any odors.

GREELEY – Leprino Foods is already expanding its site in east Greeley, with construction of the cheese-making plant just beginning.

The global mozzarella producer is under contract to buy 18 acres of the former Meyer Feedlot east of its existing site off U.S. Highway 85 to build its own renewable wastewater treatment facility, said Greeley planner Mike Garrott.

The Greeley Planning Commission was scheduled Tuesday to consider the company’s plans to house an aerobic and anaerobic wastewater treatment facility on the land. The company this summer began construction on its 847,000-square-foot cheese plant, which is expected to open November 2011 and…

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