Smithfield Foods' new $45 million wastewater system improving water quality in Big Sioux River

July 31, 2023
The new system adds additional treatment processes and capabilities to meet new and more stringent permit limits on nitrates and ammonia.
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SMITHFIELD, Va., July 26, 2023 (PRNewswire) — Smithfield Foods recently announced it has built a new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system to replace a majority of the existing system at its pork-processing complex in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The new $45 million wastewater system adds additional treatment processes and capabilities to meet new and more stringent permit limits on nitrates and ammonia. The upgraded system biologically converts ammonia-nitrogen in wastewater to nitrate-nitrogen and further removes nitrate-nitrogen from wastewater, a treatment process known as denitrification that is strongly preferred by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency due to its reduced impact on aquatic life. The new denitrification process will reduce Smithfield's overall nitrogen load to the Big Sioux River by two-thirds or more.  

"This new state-of-the-art wastewater project reinforces Smithfield's proactive approach to implementing sustainable systems that improve environmental quality and benefit the community," said Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer for Smithfield. "The investment we have made in Sioux Falls will significantly reduce nutrient discharges and improve water quality in the Big Sioux River basin."

Smithfield had previously made significant improvements to its wastewater system at Sioux Falls over the past several years at a cost of $10 million.

Smithfield has been a leader in sustainability programs for more than two decades and has made industry-leading commitments to become carbon negative in its U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30% across its entire U.S. value chain by 2030. More information about Smithfield's sustainability programs is available in its 2022 Sustainability Impact Report, available here.

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