Waste from pork plant causing problems at Rantoul treatment plant

RANTOUL — Undertreated sanitary waste from the Rantoul Foods pork processing plant pretreatment facility is causing problems with the village of Rantoul's filtration of material running into the wastewater treatment plant.

Just two years after one of the filtration systems had to be replaced, it has gone bad again, and Rantoul public works director Greg Hazel said the pork plant material appears to be the source of the problem.

Hazel caused the situation "a frustrating item."

He said the village had rehabbed one set of sand filters in 2012 and another set last year.

"What we have found is that they've been coated with some oils, fats and greases and some polymer chemicals that apparently are coming from the pretreatment operation of Rantoul Foods," Hazel told the village board.

He said he has spoken with pork plant officials about the issue several times. The pork plant is adding equipment that will hopefully remedy the problem.

"We anticipate that successful operation of their additional equipment will prevent this in the future," Hazel said. "Right now we're down to one of these filters. We desperately need the other one repaired and back on line."

Hazel presented an estimate of $198,000 to replace the system, which features new technology and is used by several communities in the state.

He said he plans to bill Rantoul Foods for the cost.

Asked if the village will have a recurring problem from the pork plant, Hazel said, "We expect it to be better. The communities that have used it, Effingham and Marion among them, have had good success with it. They haven't had the blowouts that they once experienced."

Dave Hinton is editor of the Rantoul Press, a News-Gazette community newspaper. For more, visit rantoulpress.com.

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