In 2006, ADM’s Decatur, Ill., corn processing plant — the largest such facility in
the world — installed systems that enable the facility to use filtered, treated water to meet nearly one-third of its operational needs. As a result, we are saving 1.5 billion gallons of fresh water per year. General Electric recognized these efforts with its 2007 Global Ecomagination Leadership Award, and in 2009, we implemented the same technology at our Walhalla, North Dakota, corn processing facility. Results from these implementations will help us determine the feasibility of extending the program to other ADM plants.
Of course, like most conservation initiatives, saving water requires both the right equipment and the right behaviors. At our corn plant in Columbus, Nebraska, colleagues have installed closed-loop chiller systems and monitoring equipment while mounting an employee water-usage awareness campaign. These sorts of efforts have enabled the plant to maintain water use at an almost constant level over the course of the past five years while the facility’s annual processing volume has grown more than 10 percent.