Smithfield Foods fined for water violations in the Big Sioux River

 Courtesy of SiouxFalls.Business
Courtesy of SiouxFalls.Business (KSFY)
Published: Nov. 19, 2019 at 3:46 PM CST
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Smithfield Foods' Sioux Falls plant is facing more than $45,000 in fines after state officials discovered the facility discharged wastewater into the Big Sioux River.

The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has fined Smithfield Foods $46,260 for surface water discharge permit violations.

According to the DENR, between February 1, 2019, and July 31, 2019, Smithfield reported violations of its permit limits for total suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand, ammonia, fecal coliform, and toxicity test.

“Smithfield has addressed these violations,” said DENR Secretary Hunter Roberts. “However, this penalty reinforces the need for permit compliance. DENR expects operators to comply with their permits and will continue to work closely with Smithfield to prevent future violations.”

In response to the reported violations, DENR required Smithfield to collect daily water quality samples in the Big Sioux River to document any potential impacts. The results indicated the discharge violations did not lead to exceedances of the South Dakota Surface Water Quality Standards in the river.

As ordered in DENR’s October 23, 2019, Notice of Violation, Smithfield must conduct additional toxicity monitoring if there are any further violations. Smithfield must also complete an evaluation of its water collection system and implement approved corrective actions to minimize excess water flows during precipitation events.

Smithfield operates a wastewater treatment plant in Sioux Falls to treat the wastewater generated by its operations. DENR requires Smithfield to sample its discharge and report any violations. For more information about DENR’s Surface Water Discharge permitting program, visit