City Of Brawley Approves Year-Long Wastewater Discharge Permit For OWB
By Chris Furguson
After nearly two weeks since a previous application had been denied, the City of Brawley approved a wastewater discharge permit for the One World Beef (OWB) beef processing plant on the evening of March 3, 2017. The permit allowed OWB to begin discharging their wastewater into the Brawley system on Monday, March 6 for a period of one year.
The approval came after the plant provided long delayed technical plans for their incoming treatment facility, which had been the primary reason behind a permit denial in mid-February. After meetings between the city and the plant’s owners, where plans for the on-site treatment facility were finally submitted, the city approved the discharge permit.
The discharge permit will last for up to one full year while OWB works with Chilean engineering firm BioFiltro on the construction of the on-site treatment facility. The BioFiltro process will use earthworms and wood chips to filter the plant’s wastewater prior to further treatment and use in a nearby field for grass.
“The City is pleased to report that we have received sufficient information to approve the permit,” said City of Brawley Mayor Sam Couchman in a press release last Friday evening.
City Manager Rosanna Moore had expressed that the city would do their best to expedite the approval process, provided the plant’s owners would be willing to provide the necessary documentation.
“The City is poised to expedite its review of complete plans for the BioFiltro building permit,” added Moore in the release. “We look forward to working in coordination with OWB’s technical team.”
News of the permit came a week after the city issued a permanent occupancy and business license to the plant. The license was approved after the city agreed to substitute an odor mitigation requirement with one that was in line with a permit issued by the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board.
“We are excited to see the project move forward because our goal is to support OWB and other developments that boost the economy and create jobs, while advancing quality of life for our residents,” added Couchman.
The permit approval came off the heels of a recent Brawley City Council meeting where residents and plant owners spent two hours taking the city council to task for denying an initial permit on February 17. During the meeting, the plant and the city agreed to continue to work together on the issue.
The city has also allocated nearly $600,000 in improvements for the area around the Beef Plant and made modifications to a 3 million gallon water storage tank at the nearby Brawley Municipal Airport that will benefit OWB.