Specialty Crop Block Grant Projects

Lakeshore Environmental – Grants and Studies

LEI has had the opportunity to team with several of our food processor clients, the Michigan Food Processors Association, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to perform various studies under the Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) Program.  This page contains various links to SCBG information and LEI SCBG project information, status, and reports.

What is the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program? (click for more)

The SCBG is administered through the USDA to, “solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.”  Specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).”  Currently, Michigan’s food processing and agribusiness is a $37 billion industry, making it the state’s second largest industry (DEQ, 2009).  Furthermore, according to the MDARD, food processing and agribusiness is the fastest growing industry in the State.

Recent/Ongoing LEI Projects:

Grant Number
: 791N6600132-10293-2015
Title: Treatment and Disposal of Food Processing Wastewater Through Aspiration and Evaporation

This project was designed to test the effectiveness and best climactic conditions for specialty crop food processor wastewater aspiration and the tolerance of the system for various wastewater strengths, flow rates, and the presence of solids which could potentially clog the nozzles. Wastewater aspiration (or “aerosolization”) has been widely used and accepted for landfill leachate in many states, including Michigan.

Michigan’s vegetable and fruit processing industry produces wastewater on a large scale with much of it treated and released to the ground surface through various means. Both seasonal and year round food processing facilities produce large amounts of wastewater daily, ranging anywhere from thousands to millions of gallons per day. The cost to manage, treat, and dispose of this wastewater is a burden to all specialty crop food processors but especially rural facilities due to their inherent distance from publically-owned wastewater treatment facilities.  The successful demonstration that wastewater aspiration will work for a variety of wastewater chemistries and during peak wastewater discharge will establish this method as a viable peak disposal method with the industry and the DEQ. All grant provided funding will be used solely for the purpose of data collection, interpretation, and dissemination to the industry. All information gathered will be provided to the industry as a whole, and will serve to increase the competitiveness of eligible specialty crops.

Grant Agreement
Interim Summary Performance Report – June 2016
Final Report- March 2017

Grant Number
: 791N5500106-10230-2014
Title: A Study of Water Repurpose and/or Water Use Reduction at Michigan Fruit and Vegetable Food Processors

Michigan is beginning to feel increased pressure to be more sustainable with its abundant water sources and the food processing industry is one of the major water consumers. In October 2014, LEI received grant funding from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to conduct a to evaluate water use reduction and/or repurposing opportunities in the food processing industry. LEI has partnered with Peterson Farms, Inc. (PFI), a large Michigan fruit processor, to review water use in various types of processing settings (fresh, frozen, juice, etc.). LEI conducted several site tours during various production activities to asses typical water use and develop water flow diagrams. Current water reduction opportunities focus around employee engagement, sanitation, and water reuse technologies. LEI intends to engineer water reduction strategies that will reduce overall water use in the facility by 10% in one year, with the potential for further reduction in the years to come.

Grant Agreement
Annual Report – 2015
Interim Report – May 2016
Final Report – November 2016

Grant Number: 791N4300099-10230-2013
Title: A Study on the Effectiveness of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems for Michigan Wineries

The primary purpose of this study is to determine the success of various onsite treatment systems by examining and comparing their effectiveness in reducing key chemical compounds present in winery wastewater (effluent). Additionally, sanitation additives will be taken into consideration to determine their effect, if any, on wastewater quality.
At the conclusion of this study, LEI will develop a guidance document to assist Michigan wineries in selecting the appropriate permitting program and treatment system for Michigan wineries based on site-specific conditions.

Grant Agreement
June 2014 Summary Report

October 2014 Annual Report
May 2015 Final Report

Grant Number
: 791N3200112-10218-2012
Title: A Full-Scale Follow-Up Study to Assess the Effectiveness of Passive Aeration of Soils in a Food Processing Wastewater Treatment System

This study built on the work LEI accomplished at Smeltzer Orchard Co. in 2010 and 2011 by taking passive aeration full scale!  Partnering with Burnette Foods, Inc. at their Hartford, Michigan (Keeler) location, LEI supervised the installation of five winterized irrigation guns with a portion of the field fitted with a perforated pipe underlay

After a rough winter irrigation and plenty of summer wastewater irrigation, the results of this study did not suggest that the addition of passive aeration provided a substantial benefit to the use of the field for land application.

Grant Agreement
April 2013 Interim Report
November 2013 Annual Report
May 2014 Final Report

Grant Number
: 791N2200139-10207-2011
Title: Winter Wastewater Spray Irrigation Feasibility StudyStudy Plot Pic

Grant Agreement
Winter Irrigation Interim Report – April 2012
Final Performance Report – February 2013

Past LEI Projects:

Grant Number
: 791N13000102-10206-2010-046
Title: A Study to Determine the Feasibility of Passive Soil Aeration for the Treatment of WastewaterSunrise on study; Feb. 2012

Please see above!  This study went FULL SCALE in the fall of 2012!

Grant Agreement
Interim Report May 2011
Interim Report November 2011
Final Performance Report
Final Performance Report Summary/Abstracted

Grant Number: 791N13000102-10206-2010-060
Title: Wastewater Freeze Crystallization Feasibility Study

Grant Agreement
Interim Report – April 2011
Final Performance Report – October 2011
Poster Presentation – June 2011 MFPA Annual Meeting

Please check back soon for more information and contact LEI if you have any questions, would like to partner with us for a grant or study at your facility, or if you would like more information.

Helpful links:

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Partner websites:
Burnette Foods, Inc.

Michigan Food Processors Association
Peterson Farms, Inc.
Shoreline Fruit
Smeltzer Orchard Company