Smithfield files $6 million permit to upgrade wastewater treatment facility
Smithfield Foods is investing nearly $6 million at its Sioux Falls meatpacking plant to upgrade its wastewater treatment facility.
A building permit was filed April 7 for $5,977,500. Rice Lake Construction Group is listed as the contractor and plans to add to the facility’s existing building, as well as add new tanks with a support building and new fine screen building, according to the permit.
The meatpacking plant has a history of violating surface water discharge limits.
Most recently, it violated its surface water discharge permit between October and December 2020, according to a facility report from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The facility was fined in 2011 after repeated discharge violations that included release of three times the allowable limit of ammonia. The plant was blamed in part for a fish kill on the Big Sioux River in 2012, and in 2018, state regulators said the plant experienced a treatment system failure that discharged ammonia levels high enough to threaten fish in the river.
The meatpacking plant was fined over $45,000 in 2019 and over $50,000 in 2018 for violating its surface water discharge permit. The plant almost went just over a year between 2019 and 2020 without a violation.
Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer at Smithfield Foods, said the project will “ensure that we continue to meet and exceed water quality standards” in an emailed statement.
“This is one part of our ongoing and industry-leading commitment to operating sustainably as we produce food, provide economic opportunities and support our community,” Leeth said in the emailed statement.