Clean Water PrizeThe Clean Water America Alliance (CWAA) awarded PepsiCo Frito-Lay a 2012 US Water Prize for its Casa Grande, AZ snack food manufacturing facility. Thanks to an innovative process water reuse system and alternative energy, the facility runs almost entirely on renewable energy and recycled water while producing nearly zero waste—something the company refers to as “Near Net Zero.” The Casa Grande facility also won FE’s 2011 Sustainable Plant of the Year Award.

CDM Smith completed the design and construction of the 650,000-gallon-per-day process water recovery treatment system, which recycles up to 75 percent of the facility’s process water—enabling Frito-Lay to reduce its annual water use by 100 million gallons. The advanced purification system incorporates screening, sedimentation, membrane bioreactor, activated carbon, ultraviolet, low-pressure reverse osmosis, water stabilization and chlorine disinfection to treat the effluent to EPA primary and secondary drinking water quality standards, allowing it to be reused to wash and move potatoes and corn. This is said to be the first US food processing plant that produces drinking water quality process water to be reused in food production.

CWAA created and administers the US Water Prize to recognize achievement and inspire action for water sustainability. According to CWAA, PepsiCo Frito-Lay deserves the US Water Prize because of its corporate-wide stewardship on water and energy conservation. While five other awards were given to public water treatment utilities, a watershed and educational foundation, Frito-Lay was the only manufacturer to win the award.