file under: Design-Build, Energy, Facilities, Food and Beverage, Industrial, United States, Water Reuse

Food and Beverage + Design-Build

Bringing Water Recovery and Reuse to Life

Renewable energy and advanced membranes to recycle process water help to produce nearly zero waste for Frito-Lay

Our clients are pioneers in reducing their operational impact on the environment through water conservation, energy use reduction and waste minimization. In Casa Grande, Arizona, USA, an ambitious project is helping Frito-Lay's snack food manufacturing plant run entirely on renewable energy and recycled water while producing nearly zero waste. As part of this initiative, we designed and built a 650,000-gallon-per-day process water recovery treatment system that recycles up to 75 percent of the plant’s process water—enabling Frito-Lay to reduced its annual water use by 100 million gallons.

This compact, innovative water recovery and recycling facility uses advanced membrane technology to reclaim and reuse process water for cleaning and production needs and runs almost entirely on renewable energy. 

The advanced purification system incorporates screening, sedimentation, membrane bioreactor, activated carbon, ultraviolet, low pressure reverse osmosis, water stabilization and chlorine disinfection to treat the effluent to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency primary and secondary drinking water quality standards, allowing it to be reused to wash and move potatoes and corn. This is the first U.S. food processing plant that produces drinking water quality process water to be reused in food production.

The facility also freed up land, previously used for the pre-treatment and land application of wastewater, for a 5-megawatt photovoltaic solar system that produces almost all of the plant’s daytime electricity needs. CDM Smith completed the entire photovoltaic solar installation, including 36 acres of photovoltaic panels on dual-axis ground-mount systems, single-axis concentrated photovoltaic collectors, and dish collectors with Stirling© engine generators.

The Casa Grande facility was the first snack food manufacturing facility in the United States to be awarded LEED® Existing Building Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, thanks to educational elements, enhanced process layout and energy-efficient motors. Additionally, with 80 percent of construction debris recycled for beneficial reuse, dewatered potato peelings and corn kernels sent to local farms for feedstock, and recovered potato starch sold for other manufacturing uses, the facility now sends less than 1 percent of its overall waste to landfill.

Beyond streamlining design and construction, the design-build process integrates CDM Smith and the client's technical engineers to efficiently select the best components for this first-of-its-kind facility. The unique 3D/4D design approach also bring the complex technology to life in real time and allows for a future computerized maintenance management system to maintain equipment and track costs—adding to the client’s confidence in this sustainable water reuse system.

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