LUBBOCK, Texas–In 2022, Leprino Foods broke ground on its 10th factory in East Lubbock. The new facility will be 850,000 square feet. The company’s move to Lubbock marks the largest capital investment in Hub City history, estimated to infuse $10.6 billion into the local economy over the next decade.
“What exactly does it mean to us? To my 84-year-old mom and 79-year-old dad? What does it mean to us on a physical level as it relates to our water, our ground,” said East Side community advocate, Phyllis Gant.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) held a public meeting to answer questions and take input from east-side community members on environmental quality.
The community also met with the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System to authorize the discharge of processed wastewater, utility wastewater and water treatment waste into Canyon Lake, a popular topic of conversation at the meeting.
Leprino Foods and TCEQ assured community members they have a thorough plan and system to filter and treat the water draining into Canyon Lake.
“It’s clean water,” said a Leprino representative. “There will be cheese solids in it, that’s why it’s going to the treatment facility, and at the end of the treatment facility, we have a membrane filtration that really protects any solids from going past those filters.”
Neighbors were also concerned about living right next to a cheese factory and what that could look like for them.
“I can speak to the plant I just came from, in California, it didn’t used to be this built up and now there’s residential all around the facility,” said another Leprino representative.
Gant said it’s important for the community to work hand in hand with Leprino and TCEQ to understand what’s going on in their backyards.
“I want to walk away from that meeting with an understanding, to keep their word and then we’ll keep our word as well,” Gant said.
Leprino said in the meeting it will bring 600 jobs to east Lubbock. They are focusing on community outreach and investing in their community. Most recently visited Estacado High School to assure High school seniors they will have job opportunities come 2025 when the factory is estimated to open.
No official decision was made on issuing Leprino’s environmental quality permit at the Tuesday night meeting.