Over the past several years, Omega Protein Corp. has developed processes to conserve approximately 18 million gallons of water annually by reclaiming water through the processing of fish, rather than removing that water from the ground. The water is treated and then used in the plant to wash down equipment and used to seal the vacuum pump in the company's evaporator.
Omega Protein, a nutritional product company and a leading integrated producer of omega-3 fish oil and specialty protein products, will present information about its innovative water reclamation and water reuse initiative at the Virginia Manufacturers Association (VMA)'s Virginia Industrial and Environmental Conference (VIEC).
The company will be represented by Bill Purcell, the company's Environmental Manager.
"Having the opportunity to share Omega Protein's advancements in reducing the company's water usage is hopefully something that can be helpful to other companies looking to become more efficient and more environmental friendly in their operations," said Purcell. "It is also our intention to use this chance to further explore the practices used by our counterparts in industry to insure we are using the most resourceful strategies available to us."
Purcell will sit on the panel with Todd Furbee, president of Delta Pure and Dr. Frank Gutpon, interim chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science at Virginia Commonwealth University. This panel of industry and scientific experts will showcase innovative ways they are utilizing technology to manage water supply and reuse concerns, while managing both regulatory requirements as good stewards of the environment and critical production requirements.
Water reclamation and reuse is just one of several environmentally-conscious initiatives undertaken at Omega Protein's Reedville facility in recent years. The price tag on these upgrades is well over $20 million. Here is a list of a few of these projects:
- Switching to renewable diesel oil (waste animal fats) in the company's boilers in our processing facility. This allows the company to use a cleaner burning, carbon neutral product;
- Installing new, state of the art airless dryers that allow the company to incinerate non-condensable gases. Omega Protein is the only location in North America with this technology.
- Equipped the company's two upgraded fishing vessels with two new Tier 2 engines and five new auxiliary Tier 2 engines which burn less fuel and therefore reduce emissions.
"The VMA is proud of its long standing relationship with Omega Protein. Omega Protein's dedication to continuous improvement, water quality and balancing global market dynamics in the food and nutraceutical markets with its stewardship of a dynamic fishery makes it one of the most unique manufacturing operations in the United States," said VMA President and CEO Brett Vassey. He added. "We are honored to have Omega Protein as a member and presenter at this year's VIEC."
The 11th annual VIEC is the premiere industrial conference focused on environmental stewardship, innovative technology, industry best practices as well as legislative and regulatory issues in environment, safety and health. This practitioner's conference has brought industry, academia, regulators, legislators and environmental advocates to build understanding, cooperation and maintain Virginia's competitive regulatory environment for 11 years.