Zumbrota Wastewater System Recognized

April 11, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Employees at Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.’s (DFA) plant in Zumbrota, Minn., were recently recognized by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for excellence in wastewater operations during 2010. Honorees were recognized at the 74th annual Wastewater Operations Conference on March 24.

“The wastewater professionals being honored are true stewards of Minnesota’s water,” said MPCA Commissioner Paul Aasen. “Their hard work protects our rivers, lakes and streams each and every day.”

To be eligible for the award, facility operators were required to submit all monitoring reports correctly and on time, demonstrate consistent compliance through monitoring or surveys and employ MPCA-certified operators.

In order to address the wastewater loading issues at the plant, a multidisciplinary team was developed to improve wastewater operation protocols and to involve all employees in correcting the situations that result in product loss.

“The most significant improvement occurred as soon as we involved and informed all the employees in the plant about the importance of managing routine activities,” said Lucy Schwartz, plant manager. “The Wastewater Team had a real leadership role in getting information out to employees, and using the information that employees brought to the team effectively.”

In addition to their focus on environmental stewardship, employees at DFA’s Zumbrota plant also demonstrate an exceptional commitment to workplace safety. The plant recently celebrated a milestone of 450 days with no lost-time accidents.

The Zumbrota plant employees 102 members of the local community. Products produced at the plant include American-style cheese, Gouda, hard Italian, dry whey, and cheese and cream powders.