Zentox system saves money by cleaning, reusing water

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Courtesy of Zentox Corporation

Washing dead chickens uses water. No, make that lots and lots of water.

Cleaning each chicken-and removing the contaminants and bacteria that the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires-uses about 10 gallons of water.

So if you’re a typical chicken plant that processes, say, 200,000 chickens a day, you end up using 2 million gallons of water a day.

Using that much water puts the pressure on the plant in two ways. One, it’s not cheap: 2 million gallons of water can cost $12,000 a day. Two, using that much water can give rise to restrictions by cities and counties to curb water use, lest residents not have enough for themselves. But what if there was a way to keep using the same water over and over again?

Well, there is, and that’s where Zentox Corp. comes in. The 25-person Poquoson company operates a new system-the Cascade Water Reuse System-that removes contaminants from the water, so the poultry plant can pretty much use as much water as it needs. It makes the water of a quality that isn’t quite good enough to drink-but good enough to clean chickens.

 “We get all the fat and blood and grease and bacteria out of there,” said Bob Kim, the company’s sales and marketing director. “Some of that stuff is just nasty, and the water is difficult to treat. We treat it, and it can be used again.”

Zentox’s system is now being used by chicken giant Tyson Foods at its Cumming, Ga., plant. It’s also being used by Towsends Inc. at its plant in Pittsboro, N.C. Zentox got its start in 1987, treating and recycling water used in office airconditioning systems, something that it does on the Peninsula and all over the country.

Treating the water in the cooling systems not only helps office complexes save water by allowing the same water to be used over and over again, it helps cut down on airborne illnesses.

Zentox is counting on the industrial water-recycling system in the chicken plants to do so well, the company can eventually go public. The way that it works is a process called ozonation: Zentox inserts ozone into the water to react with contaminants, a process that disinfects the water.

It’s the same type of system that the company uses-on a smaller scale- in office-building cooling systems. In the chicken-plant systems, Zentox is planning to design and build the recycling system at a cost of from $1 million to $5 million, depending on the amount of water used. Zentox will then staff the recycling system with its own people. The benefits of the system can be demonstrated by Towsends’ experience, Kim said.

Before it got the system, he said, Towsends was able to operate only three days a week-Monday, Wednesday and Friday-because of a strict water restriction from government. With Zentox’s new system, Townsends is able to have five shifts a week and is looking at expanding to 10 shifts. Kim said, “This means everything to their bottom line.”

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