WINSLOW — A poultry vaccine manufacturer is moving ahead with plans for a composting facility and other upgrades at its Winslow location.
Lohmann Animal Health International Inc., which is owned by Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly, says the composting facility should save the company money and will improve its waste efficiency. Construction costs are estimated at $160,000.
The company also applied in mid-July for a permit to upgrade Building H, which holds the main laboratory and research and development building. This project has an estimated cost of $2.67 million, according to the application for a town building permit.
Lohmann Animal Health develops vaccines and food components to help prevent diseases of animals used in food production. It employs more than 100 people at the Winslow site.
The company is applying to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for approval of the composting facility.
The project began as a trial collaboration between the Winslow employees and the DEP, according to Beth Hunter, associate consultant for communications at Indiana-based Elanco.
“As a company, we’re committed to operating responsibly and in reducing our environmental footprint,” Hunter said in an emailed statement. “We continue to look for cost-effective innovative solutions like the composting facility to help us further minimize our environmental impacts.”
The company expects composting to save money in operating costs, as well as to provide a way to reuse discarded egg and bedding materials. The facility would also help Elanco reach its goal to improve its waste efficiency by 20 percent, Hunter said.
The Winslow site has undergone a number of improvements over the past year. This past spring the manufacturing company hired Fairfield-based Sheridan Construction Corp. to build six new poultry houses to support its increasing productivity, although the company would not disclose details about its enhanced capacity.
New pens cost $100,000 each, according to the application for a town building permit.
The Winslow facility and its corporate parent in Germany were bought by Elanco in 2014.
In 2005, when the facility was known as Maine Biological Laboratories, its executives agreed to pay a $100,000 civil penalty to the Bureau of Industry and Security to settle a dozen regulatory charges related to its export of suspect vaccines to Syria. The company was ordered to pay a $500,000 fine to settle a range of criminal charges related to shipments of live avian influenza viruses from Saudi Arabia. Also, eight of the company’s former executives pleaded guilty to smuggling, mail fraud and conspiracy related to the Saudi shipments, and several received prison sentences.