Alpena jerky plant to expand; 75 new jobs possibleALPENA - A newly announced package of funding for an Alpena wastewater treatment plant project will support a $9.1 million expansion that could eventually bring 75 new full-time jobs to a beef jerky plant in the small town.
By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic
ALPENA - A newly announced package of funding for a $9.1 million Alpena wastewater treatment project will support an expansion at a beef jerky plant that could eventually bring 75 new full-time jobs to the small town.
The South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development has announced that the town of Alpena will receive a $515,000 Community Development Block Grant to make improvements to its wastewater treatment plant. Along with the CDBG grant, the town of Alpena will receive a Department of Environment and Natural Resources low-interest federal loan for approximately $1.5 million.
The Alpena wastewater treatment facility has been operating at capacity and is in need of upgrades to accommodate any future growth for the greater Alpena area. The increased capacity of the upgraded wastewater system will also allow for the expansion of Link Snacks Inc. (LSI), makers of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, the largest employer in Jerauld County.
LSI "will invest $7.1 million in costs associated with improvements to the pre-treatment facility," according to a news release. Total cost estimates for the entire wastewater treatment project are estimated at $9.1 million.
"The Alpena water treatment plant expansion is a critical project to help ensure continued economic development and growth for the Alpena area," said Troy Link, president, Link Snacks Inc. "This project reflects our long-standing commitment to improving and investing in the infrastructure and betterment of the Alpena community. Without the investment and upgrade, LSI would be unable to grow or increase capacity. We are pleased to participate in this jointly funded project and to continue to provide good jobs in the Alpena area.”
Simultaneously, and in addition to the wastewater treatment facility upgrade, LSI is undergoing an expansion project at its Alpena-based production facility. The overall expansion is slated to create approximately 57 project-based pre-development and construction jobs. This expansion will allow LSI to create 75 new full-time jobs in its production facility by the end of 2017. Moreover, the expansion will preserve the approximately 800 existing full-time jobs currently at the LSI facility.
The upgraded, Alpena-based, pre-treatment facility will reduce the byproducts treated from LSI’s production facility to that of minimum household strength. This will relieve the municipal system and prevent the town of Alpena from incurring any additional costs in treating LSI’s waste. Additionally, methane produced from the upgraded system is slated to be used to generate electrical power. The overall project will improve water quality and meet new, more stringent, EPA requirements, as well as all state, county and municipal regulations. The upgrade will eventually include the addition of a 15-acre wastewater treatment pond to be located approximately two miles south of Alpena.
Construction on the wastewater treatment facility upgrade has begun and is expected to be completed by fall 2013. Gil Haugan Construction has been named general contractor, with Banner Associates Inc. designated as the primary engineering firm and Biothane as provider of the equipment.
As part of the over-arching agreement, and in working with Dakotas America, LSI is contributing $70,000 to the Alpena volunteer fire department for purchase of emergency medical support equipment and personnel training, ultimately improving the overall capabilities of medical emergency services used within Alpena and the surrounding region.