Company Overview
Fieldale Farms Corporation is a family business, still owned by its founding families, but has grown to become one of the world’s largest independent poultry producers. The company was built on strong values and relationships within the Northeast Georgia community and is the proud owner and producer of the premium chicken brand, Springer Mountain Farms®. 100% of Fieldale’s operations are dedicated to producing antibiotic-free, all-natural, all-vegetarian fed, premium, great tasting chicken for Springer Mountain Farms®. Springer Mountain Farms® was first poultry producer in the world to gain the endorsement and certification from American Humane.

Fieldale Farms was undergoing an expansion of its operations, which placed additional pressure on its wastewater treatment system. The existing system consisted of two Habersham style dissolved air flotation (DAF) units with an original design capacity of (800gpm). Exceeding this, we ran at a capacity of 900 gallons per minute (gpm) each. 

Problem Statement
Capacity Issues
Faced with a wastewater treatment system that couldn’t handle the increased load, Fieldale Farms considered purchasing a third DAF unit. However, space constraints meant that installing a new DAF unit would require constructing an entirely new building, an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.

Suspended Air® Flotation (SAF®) Conversion
Fieldale Farms discovered Suspended Air® Flotation (SAF®) and its potential to address their capacity issues. Intrigued by the promise of solving their wastewater treatment challenges without the need for additional infrastructure, Fieldale Farms engaged Heron Innovators, Inc., to explore the feasibility of converting their existing DAF systems to SAF®.

Demonstration and Conversion
Jeff Knollenberg from Heron Innovators, Inc., demonstrated SAF® at Fieldale Farms. Impressed by the demonstration, Fieldale Farms decided to proceed with the SAF® conversion for both DAF systems.

The conversion process involved:
• Disconnecting from plant air compressors.
• Turning off the large recirculation pumps.
• Removing the packed-style lamella plates from the flotation tank.
• Installing two SAF® generators and Clear Mixers®, reusing the two existing DAF flotation tanks.
• Installing bigger floc tubes to match new flow. These were engineered and created by Heron.

Both conversions were completed over consecutive weekends, allowing the systems to be operational by Monday morning. Immediately post-conversion, Fieldale Farms experienced a significant increase in processing capacity, with each DAF flotation tank now handling 1,500 gpm. We now have increased our ability to process 3 million gallons per day if needed.
Results and Benefits

Increased Capacity and Efficiency
The SAF® system successfully increased the processing capacity from 900 gpm to 1,500 gpm per tank, effectively addressing the wastewater treatment capacity issue and supporting Fieldale Farms’ plant expansion. The Suspended Air® conversion enjoys an exceedingly fast rise rate allowing for an astounding capacity increase while offering more consistent/reliable and clearer effluent.

Improved Effluent Quality
Prior to the conversion, Fieldale Farms’ wastewater treatment system was barely operating at their permit limit of 150 ppm Total Suspended Solids (TSS). This was achieved with great difficulty requiring a lot of adjustments and operators’ attention. Following the conversion to SAF®, the TSS levels were reduced to 70 ppm TSS using 50% less polymer. This significantly improved effluent quality and exceeded regulatory requirements.

Simplified Operation and Maintenance
The SAF® system has proven to be much easier to operate and maintain compared to the previous DAF system. This simplified operation contributed to overall efficiency and reliability.

Resilience to Plant Upsets
The SAF® system demonstrated superior resilience to plant upsets. For instance, when a 300-gallon tote of peracetic acid ruptured discharging into the influent, the SAF® system continued to function normally despite this shock to the system. Only a notable vinegar odor was the observable effect. Suspended Air® also handles well the fluctuations in influent characteristics such as the daily routine plant sanitation. (CIP).

Cost Savings
The conversion to SAF® resulted in varied savings for Fieldale Farms:
• Avoided Infrastructure Costs (CAPEX): The need to build a new structure to house an additional DAF unit was eliminated.
• Reduced Electrical Consumption (OPEX): The SAF® system’s electrical consumption was significantly lower.
• Reduced Polymer Usage (OPEX): Polymer usage was cut in half, leading to further cost savings.

James Janes, Environmental Supervisor at Fieldale Farms, expressed satisfaction with the SAF® system’s performance and benefits, highlighting its ability to handle increased flow and plant upsets effectively.

Fieldale Farms Corporation successfully addressed its wastewater treatment capacity challenges through the innovative use of Suspended Air® Flotation. The conversion not only enhanced processing capacity and effluent quality but also delivered operational efficiencies and significant cost savings. By adopting SAF®, Fieldale Farms reinforced its commitment to quality, sustainability, environmental responsibility, and operational excellence.

Contact Information
For more information about Fieldale Farms Corporation and its products, please visit

James Janes, Environmental Supervisor, Fieldale Farms Corporation
Lisa Ralph, Marketing Director, Heron Innovators, Inc.