History was made in the Town of Clayton Thursday as community leaders and global healthcare company Novo Nordisk cut the ribbon on an almost $40 million regional industrial wastewater pre-treatment facility constructed through an innovative public-private partnership.
Mayor Jody McLeod, Novo Nordisk Corporate Vice President Chad Henry, NC Sen. Brent Jackson and NC Rep. Donna White gathered with state and Johnston County leaders to celebrate the completion of the R. Steven Biggs Regional Wastewater Pretreatment Facility. Located on Powhatan Road just off US 70 East, this state-of-the-art plant was four years in the making and will be able to treat almost 450,000 gallons of industrial wastewater per day, and potentially much more.
The pretreatment plant will immediately begin serving the largest manufacturing investment in North Carolina history–Novo Nordisk’s new $2 billion active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing facility being constructed across the street off Powhatan Road. The treatment plant was built to be an economic driver for the entire region, and its modular design will allow tremendous flexibility and expansion capacity for current and future biopharma partners who will be able to plug into the facility as well.
“We’re excited about the biopharmaceutical partnerships this facility has forged because this is an industry that cares about people, and that’s what Clayton is all about,” said Mayor Jody McLeod. “We hope that Novo Nordisk is the first of many to join this regional facility in efforts to save and improve people’s lives through healthcare. This public-private partnership puts regionalism before individualism to solve some of today’s most critical infrastructure problems, and that speaks volumes about our relationships with these industries and Johnston County.”
Over the past 17 months, Novo Nordisk transformed eight acres off Powhatan Road into a technological marvel, where controlled chemical and biological processes will clean industrial wastewater by removing concentrations of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus which can be harmful to aquatic ecosystems in excess levels.
While the facility was constructed by Novo Nordisk, the Clayton Town Council unanimously voted to accept the facility as a donation from Novo Nordisk on October 7, 2019.
“Clean water is critical to our business, and we have a responsibility to protect the environment,” said Chad Henry, Corporate Vice President and General Manager for Novo Nordisk. “This innovative economic development initiative is a win-win for all involved. In addition to providing the infrastructure needed to support our manufacturing expansion, the Town of Clayton now has greater leverage to attract more businesses to the BioPharma Crescent region.”
This construction project received more than $10 million in public and non-profit support from the NC General Assembly and the Golden Leaf Foundation, which supports economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities, often by awarding grants to support public infrastructure to help attract businesses to a region.
The NC General Assembly, NC Department of Commerce, NC Department of Environmental Quality, US Economic Development Administration, Johnston County, local industry leaders and Clayton Town Council have all recognized the value of this historic cooperative, regional solution.
The facility is named in honor of former, long-time Clayton Town Manager Steve Biggs. It was his vision to see public and private entities partner to build a regional facility that would serve to solidify the community’s commitment to economic vitality and environmental stewardship.
Pretreating industrial wastewater to meet the needs of industry is a critical issue facing Clayton, Johnston County, and communities across this country. The East Clayton Industrial area (ECIA) and the Research & Training Zone (RTZ) are attractive locations for new and expanding businesses – businesses that bring more jobs and spur more investment and spending in our community.