JBS clears the air at Nebraska beef plant

By Tom Johnston on 5/4/2010
JBS Swift & Co. said Monday it would spend about $850,000 to combat an odor problem emanating from rendering and blood-drying operations at its Grand Island, Nebraska, beef plant, JBS spokesman Chandler Keys confirmed to Meatingplace.

The latest project is part of a $46.4 million, three-year overhaul that JBS began last year at the facility, according to a report by the Grand Island Independent. The new improvements are scheduled to be completed by July 1.

"We don't want this plant to stink," Keys was quoted as saying. "Up until now, the ownership wasn't interested (in fixing odor issues). Now the ownership is very interested."

Past owners included ConAgra, Monfort and Swift & Co.

JBS said it will spend $550,000 to install a 60,000-square-foot scrubber for rendering, to raise discharge stacks to 65 feet above ground from 30 feet, to aerate boiler burners, to add scrubbing to a wastewater grease room, to improve equipment vapor collection and to conduct an air model to determine optimal stack height of all three scrubbers, the report said.

The company said another $296,000 will go toward new air scrubbing equipment in the plant's dryer room. The project entails building a wall and new exterior door to enclose the room, as well as installing a 40,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm) fan. Air trapped in the room will be used as combustion air for the bone and blood dryers, the report said.

Other projects in the three-year plan at Grand Island include $1.7 million in wastewater treatment centrifuges, a 3,500-stall employee parking lot ($4.5 million), a $5 million wastewater treatment lagoon, an $11.5 million cooler, upgrades to the fabrication floor ($6.5 million), a $1.3 million upgrade to concrete on the back of the lot, rendering cooker upgrades of $3.5 million, a $5 million overhaul to the locker room and cafeteria and a $6.5 million aeration enhancement, the Independent reported.