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Bongards Creameries wins water quality award for Perham plant

Bongards was recognized for waste reduction goals, wastewater treatment success, water reuse, and other environmental initiatives at its Perham natural cheese production plant.

Bongards cheese
All of Bongards cheeses will be sold at the new store, plus other specialty cheeses from around the country. Staff will also put together original and made-to-order cheese trays and gift baskets right in house. Marie Johnson/FOCUS
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In early November, the Central States Water Environment Association recognized Bongards’ Creameries with the 2020 Industrial Water Quality Achievement Award. The award was presented at the CSWEA 35th Annual Conference on the Environment in recognition of Bongards’ waste reduction goals, wastewater treatment success, water reuse, and other environmental initiatives at its Perham natural cheese production plant.

As plant capacity has increased in recent years, Bongards has made continuous improvements to its wastewater treatment programs and facilities, increasing capacity and monitoring capabilities. Once treated, the wastewater is used to irrigate local fields. In addition, the company was able to repurpose a cheese production by-product that was previously discarded, generating a nutrient source that is valuable for animal feed.

The Bongards Perham production plant is a 140,000 square foot facility, capable of processing over 4 million pounds of milk daily into natural cheese blocks and barrels. Located in an environmentally sensitive area, surrounded by many lakes and the Otter Tail River, tourism and recreation are important to the community.

“In order to maintain the valuable natural resources of our local Perham community, responsible management of the wastewater generated from our cheese production process is of critical importance to Bongards,” said Daryl Larson, Bongards president and CEO.

Bongards Creameries is a farmer-owned co-op that was formed in 1908 in the southeastern Minnesota town of Bongards. The co-op’s dairy farmers are based in Minnesota and North Dakota. Corporate offices are in Chanhassen, and the company’s three production facilities are in Bongards, Minn., Perham, and Humboldt, Tenn. For more information, visit Bongards.com.

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