Power to Save: Golden Flake goes green

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Golden Flake has been serving snack foods to customers in Birmingham and a host of cities across the country since the early 1900's. The idea began with two guys and a sack of potatoes. Today that idea continues to grow with more than 1200 employees, 100 million pounds of potatoes at a plant that uses an average 300,000 gallons of water each day. Rising water and sewer rates left executives with a tough decision - whether or not to move the company from the Magic City.

Power to Save reporter Ronda Robinson talked with Executive Director of Operations, David Jones who said, the "water and sewer bill was running $70,000 to 100,000 a month. The sewer department informed us that in five years we would probably be at a quarter of a million dollars a month and that would have been unsustainable to stay at this location."

Jones said, his employees did not want to leave but it was clear that something had to change.

"We decided to go ahead and make an investment in the community an investment in our employees and an investment in the environment."

Over the summer, Golden Flake built a unique water treatment facility on the property.

According to Jones, it is "a green technology that up until this point has never been seen in Birmingham or Jefferson County and that's the MBR Membrane technology that was developed originally in Japan." "The holes in the membrane plates will only allow clear pure water to go through. All the waste elements are too big."

It takes about 12 hours to complete the process before the water is released into Upper Valley Creek where more work will be done.

"We are going to clean up the bank, clean up the creek bed make it look presentable and really be a good steward", Jones said.

With one project, Golden Flake is giving the nearby creek a facelift, employees are able to stay in the city they call home and the company sewer bill has been reduced from 70,000 to 2,000 dollars a month.

"It's a win for the environment, a win for our employees and a win for birmingham alabama."