National Beef Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements


  • Food + Beverage
  • Private Sector


  • Engineering
  • Industrial Water
  • Sustainability + Resiliency
  • Water


  • Liberal, Kansas

National Beef Packing Company has a large beef processing facility in southwestern Kansas that was facing several challenges, including:

  • Elevated chloride limits in the wastewater were impacting the treatment and discharge options available.
  • More stringent State regulatory limits for nutrients (TN & TP)
  • The City was unwilling to continue treating the wastewater from the facility
  • Increased process water demand on the aquifer was causing local depression in the available water resource.

National Beef selected HR Green to assist with a solution to accomplish the primary goals of this project – to allow National Beef to operate independently of the City and beneficially reuse treated effluent for irrigation for sustainable recycling of water and nutrients. The Ogallala Aquifer in this area is heavily used for agricultural irrigation and is being depleted. Reusing treated effluent for irrigation allows for crop production without further depleting the aquifer. In addition, nutrients are recycled through the treated effluent as well as land application of biosolids. Treated effluent is also reused within the facility for belt filter press wash water, truck wash water, and other applications.

The wastewater treatment plant was designed and constructed using the Construction Management at Risk (CMAR) project delivery method. HR Green led the preliminary engineering, design, permitting, construction administration, start-up, and commissioning.

The new wastewater treatment facility design included:

  • Identifying the sources of high chlorides and working to reduce the pathways for chlorides to enter the wastewater collection system, effectively reducing the chloride levels in the wastewater effluent.
  • Anaerobic digestion with biogas recovery with a potential connection for future gas cleaning. The facility is currently evaluating pipeline injection for renewable energy tax credits.
  • A new 5-stage Bardenpho Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) wastewater treatment plant complete with clarification, solids dewatering, chemical feed, laboratory, administration building, etc.

With the construction of the standalone WWTP, National Beef is now able to operate independently of the City and beneficially reuse treated effluent for irrigation. The new plant treats 4.5 MGD of influent wastewater from the production facility, and with the installation of an irrigation pump station, 9,000 gpm of treated irrigation water is provided to neighboring farmland.


Water & Waste Digest (WWD) Top Projects Award

ACEC Iowa Honor Award

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