Nicholas Meat Celebrates One Year Anniversary of SRF Groundbreaking
May 25, 2022
May 25, 2022
It was just one short year ago that we broke ground on the Sustainable Resource Facility (SRF). The event celebrated the innovative and comprehensive environmental management system that will allow Nicholas Meat to reuse water, reduce dependence on land application, manage odor and generate green energy from biogas. Five years in the making, the groundbreaking was attended by 60 people including Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell C. Redding and U.S. Congressman Fred Keller (PA-12).
Since our groundbreaking on May 26, 2021, so much has happened at the site and with the project. During the past year, Nicholas Meat completed the development of the Conservation Reserve, an area created to offset the forested riparian buffer and watercourse impacts that are occurring on the SRF site. This new conservation site, totaling more than 12 acres, is protected with a conservation covenant that will remain with the land in perpetuity.
Unfortunately, there have also been some unforeseen issues that the Nicholas Meat team has had to address in the past year. Supply chain issues, a circumstance experienced by numerous businesses across the country, have impacted the initial projected completion date. While Nicholas Meat is still working to complete the project as quickly as possible, extended lead times due to material shortages have impacted the project schedule which now has an estimated completion date of December 2024.
Another issue impacting the schedule is the discovery of unsuitable soil. As we excavate, we have encountered significant quantities of pyritic shale that has expansive properties making it an unsuitable material for use as a sub-base for roads, buildings, and other structures. Prior to excavation, extensive soil borings were conducted on the site, however, these surveying efforts did not reveal the full extent of this unsuitable material. Much of this area where the unsuitable soil is located was forested making it difficult to fully assess. Therefore, this shale is being hauled off-site and replaced with suitable material. This necessary activity has contributed to increased truck traffic to and from the site, as well as added to our project schedule.
Additionally, the cost of completing the SRF has more than doubled since initial plans were drafted due in part to product cost increases and the discovery of soil issues at the site. Current cost estimates to complete the SRF are $70 million compared to $33 million in January 2021.
Despite all this, Nicholas Meat remains committed to the project.
“I believe we’ve all felt the supply chain pinch or the price increase problem in our own homes – whether you’re at the grocery store or the gas pump,” said Brian Miller, Nicholas Meat director of sustainability. “We continue to work toward our long-term goal of completing the SRF despite these challenges as we believe this is a great project for the environment, the community and the company. Being able to take waste products and turn them into a valuable renewable energy source is very exciting.”