- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Greek yogurt maker Chobani says a newly installed reverse-osmosis filtration system at its south-central Idaho plant will reduce the company’s consumption of water by 20 percent.

The Times-News (https://bit.ly/13gfENm) reported that the company is installing the new machine to help reduce complaints from its residential neighbors.

Last year, Hollister residents complained about increased truck traffic and odors coming from a local farm that recycled the company’s acid whey, which is a waste product of the yogurt plant.

The new system will pull pure water from the whey and be reused inside the plant to sanitize tanks, said Marc Abjean, Chobani senior vice president of global engineering and project management.

The new system, expected to be installed after Jan. 1, will save the company 170,000 gallons of water per day, he said.



Chobani opened the Twin Falls plant in December 2012 and contracted Carne I Inc. to dispose of the acid whey. The whey is then sold as livestock feed to about 200 south-central Idaho customers.

More than 1,000 truckloads of whey and wash water from the Twin Falls plant were hauled to the Hollister farm and spread onto fields, which prompted the complaints from surrounding residents. Hollister is located just south of Twin Falls.

Hollister Mary Richard “Shorty” Self said he was skeptical of Chobani’s recent announcement, adding that the acid whey is spread on farmland near old water wells. The wells aren’t used but might be in the future, he said.

“A lot of people here drink from wells near the dumpsite,” Self said.

According to a company official that works with Carne I, the term “acid whey” is misleading.

Matt Thompson, who monitors the land application of the whey in Hollister, says the product is “no stronger than the food we eat every day.”

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Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com

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