Wayne-Sanderson Farms Partners with Community on Local Water Infrastructure Improvement Project

Frequent weather-related power outages threatening the local water supply have prompted officials in the city of Danville and Yell County to upgrade the community’s water infrastructure, and Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ Danville facility is partnering to help make it happen. The upgrade to the community’s water system includes installation of an emergency 350-to-400-kilowatt backup generator to power the county’s primary Cedar Piney facility during power outages, ensuring uninterrupted water supply to area residents and businesses. Cedar Piney is one of only two water treatment facilities serving the entire region, and is the only backup facility in the system.

According to local community officials, dozens of regional weather events have cut power and impacted the local water supply over the last few years. Site preparation for the new generator is currently underway with installation scheduled for the next few weeks. The community is also in the process of building a new water treatment plant to replace the existing and outdated original treatment facility.

Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ $50,000 grant will cover most of the cost of the $70,000 generator, a major step toward building resiliency into the system, explained Heath Tate, city manager and member of the project team. The backup generator is part of an upgrade to the county’s entire water infrastructure, made possible through a $400,000 grant from the American Recovery Act.

Danville and surrounding Yell County are home to more than 25,000 residents, and the local water system processes about 60 to 70 million gallons monthly. “Clean water is the lifeblood of our community, and the economic impact of system failure would be huge. Water and wastewater processing and distribution depend on electrical power, and right now, we have no backup, so this is a real blessing,” said Tate.

As both a primary area employer and major water system customer, Wayne-Sanderson Farms uses about 40 percent of the overall system’s capacity. With more than 700 employees and partnerships with 103 area family farms, the economic impact of a local water system failure to Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ operations would be equally impactful. “We live here, and we work here — our families and farms and jobs are here — so this is as important to us personally as it is to our business success. We’re proud to be able to help,” said Wayne-Sanderson Farms Danville complex manager, Toby Tapp.