What happened when top engineers met two waste haulers and a cheesemaker from Wisconsin? A common sense application of technology we call GreenWhey Energy.
Our story began in 2009, when two dairy waste haulers, Larry Peaster and his son, Tim, faced a new and urgent problem: How to dispose of a growing amount of wastewater from cheese factories and other dairy producers, and how to do so in a way that protected their business and the environment.
With their company Northern Liquid Waste Management, the Peasters had been hauling the rinse water and whey permeate from area dairy plants near their home in Almena, Wisconsin since the mid-1980′s. They spread the water on area farmland, where it was used by farmers for its limited value as a fertilizer.
Though they were careful to follow state regulations, traces of the water from their operation and others were still finding their way into local streams and water beds. The state stepped up its regulatory efforts as a result–prohibiting spreading in the rain, increasing the allowable distance between field spreading and streams, and all but banning spreading during the winter. They increasingly felt their hands were tied.
The implications for local cheese producers looked grim. Faced with the option of investing in expensive water treatment facilities or cutting back production, more and more chose to scale back. The cost of doing business went up. Competitiveness with large producers in places like California began to suffer.
Then one day, the Peasters met with longtime cheesemaker Tom Ludy, and together they thought up an interesting idea: What if, instead of searching around the area for suitable fields, they could simply take all of their waste products to one central location?
The result of that question was three years of tireless legwork and a new company, GreenWhey Energy. Working with leading engineering and design firms, the founders researched, planned and finally built an anaerobic digester facility in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin.
Today, the our young waste disposal company has already outgrown its name, serving not only the local cheese industry but a growing mix of food and renewable energy producers. Equipment is being installed that will process expired and out-of-spec food products like milk cartons, produce, and soda. Process changes and upgrades are being made that will allow the facility to provide sustainable waste treatment services to large and small businesses throughout the country.
As our story carries forward, however, one thing won’t change: Our steadfast commitment to clean and responsible liquid waste management.
Want to learn more? Read about our sustainable waste management services, or give us a call at 715-986-6430. Our Turtle Lake facility provides food and beverage waste management services to facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and throughout the country.