We met our goal to reduce water consumption by 10 percent by the end of fiscal year 2011 one year early in 2010; however, we continue to focus on water reduction projects at our facilities and have set a new water goal beginning in fiscal year 2012. In 2011, our initiatives resulted in an additional decrease in water consumption. Total water use during 2011 was 4.9 billion gallons — an absolute reduction of 4 percent, or 210 million gallons from the previous year. Since 2006, total water reduction was 15 percent when normalized for production — an absolute reduction of 670 million gallons.

Water use reduction was accomplished through ongoing equipment improvements and education initiatives with employees at our operations. Our water sources include municipal utilities and company-owned wells.

Total Withdrawal of Water by Source

Total Water Use

Water Initiatives

Recent projects to reduce water consumption have included:

  • Water use reduction: In an effort to reduce water usage, temperature control valves were installed on equipment with coolers and new equipment was installed where cooling systems were not required. This allowed employees at the Fremont (NE) Plant to manage and meter water to areas where water use was previously uncontrolled. The project saved more than 31 million gallons of water in 2011.
  • Reusing water for cooling: To improve the water usage efficiency of the cooling system, employees at Osceola (IA) Food implemented a closed-loop cooling system. Cooling water that had made a single pass through plant equipment was originally disposed of. The water captured and used in a continual loop through the system, saving approximately 10.4 million gallons of water throughout nine months in 2011. We project that the system will achieve water use savings of approximately 15.5 million gallons during fiscal year 2012.
  • Reusing water for cooling: Daily water usage and product temperature were monitored on a daily basis to reduce the non-contact cooling water usage in the cooling system at the Beloit (WI) Plant without negatively impacting the temperature of product exiting the cooker. A temperature control loop on the cooling water system was installed to maintain consistent automatic adjustments made to the non-contact cooling water control valve. The control system compensates for changes in cooling loads caused by pauses in the work day, resulting in a 19 percent reduction in water usage.

Water Discharge

The efficient treatment of water is an important part of our operations and a primary focus of our environmental programs. Our goal goes beyond full compliance and extends to developing collaborative partnerships within the communities in which we operate.

Destination to Watershed

Whether by direct discharge or indirect discharge via municipal wastewater systems, water from our manufacturing locations is distributed to the following watersheds:

  • Upper Mississippi (70%)
  • Missouri (13%)
  • California (12%)
  • South Atlantic (3%)
  • Souris Red River (2%)
  • Arkansas White (1%)

Total Water Discharge by Type and Destination