Investing for Environmental Improvement
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM – COMPLIANCE & BEYOND
All 11 of our plants have a full-time environmental manager charged with maintaining and improving our Environmental Management System. Our compliance record has improved and is good, and our capacity to measure and standardize our environmental practices is growing. Prior to 2011, we faced several environment-related challenges, but we have responded over these past four years with a thorough environmental management system and approach that has allowed us to solidify reliable performance in meeting our environmental commitments.
CAPITAL INVESTMENTS THAT SUPPORT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENT
In addition to having our culture and practice of continuous improvement focused on conservation, we are also committed to significant capital investment for the purpose of reducing our environmental impact. Below we describe just a few examples of the kinds of projects we have undertaken in the last four years that illustrate that commitment.
Ammonia cooling system overhauls:
Darigold invested significantly in ammonia upgrades at all of our plants. We installed a new ammonia system in Boise, Idaho, for example, which allowed us to reduce the amount of ammonia stored on site. The new system requires slightly more electricity use, but the 84% reduction in ammonia on site far more than offsets that increase. We undertook this major investment for four primary reasons. First, the volume of ammonia on site, and the scope of the neighboring area that could have been impacted if there was a release, was a serious concern for us. Second, our infrastructure for the ammonia was aging and we wanted to be out ahead of any risk. For example, although no one was hurt, we had a small ammonia release at our Seattle plant in 2012 when an older pipe broke and we did not want anything similar or worse to happen anywhere else. Third, we wanted to improve our ability to cool our milk products; we needed to improve the reliability and effectiveness of our cooling. And finally, the upgrade also allowed us more flexibility with our production, giving us growth opportunities that we wanted in order to be able to address future business needs. Even with an increase in electricity use, the other reasons for the upgrade outweighed that; the overall system integrity and the safety of both employees and surrounding neighborhoods were simply more important factors.
Multiple-million dollar investments in wastewater treatment facilities in Spokane, Wash., and Portland, Ore.
Upgraded chemical storage in Chehalis, Wash.
Major Sunnyside expansion:
Darigold invested more than $97 million in dramatically increasing the capacity of our Sunnyside plant by 70%, allowing milk to be processed close to where it is produced and thereby significantly decreasing the environmental impact associated with long-haul trucking. About 45-50 fewer truck hauls per day are needed, which adds up to a reduction in transportation of more than seven million miles per year.
- Phase I: modified and added new milk receiving bays for more efficient milk off-loading into the plant
- Phase II: added milk separation/milk condensing capability
- Phase III: added a new state of the art dryer, packaging capability and warehousing space
The expansion was completed in the spring of 2016.
Back to Top ➤