| The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has fined Smithfield Foods $53,382 for August 2018 Surface Water Discharge Permit violations. The $53,382 penalty includes $26,900 for surface water quality violations and $26,482 for laboratory cost incurred by DENR.
On Aug. 15, Smithfield Foods reported a problem at their Sioux Falls wastewater plant causing ammonia levels discharged to the Big Sioux River to be higher than the regulatory limits allowed in their Surface Water Discharge Permit. The ammonia levels violated the permitted daily maximum limit for seven days in August. In addition, during that timeframe the facility had two daily maximum fecal coliform violations and one daily maximum total suspended solids violation.
“The August Surface Water Discharge Permit violations at Smithfield’s Sioux Falls facility are a very serious issue DENR does not want to see repeated,” said DENR Secretary Steve Pirner. “These penalties reinforce the need for permit compliance and allow DENR to recover tax payer dollars spent to respond to the discharge.”
In addition to response actions taken by Smithfield, DENR dispatched staff to investigate and collect water quality samples. Between Aug. 16 and Aug. 27 DENR executed 17 sampling trips and collected 100 samples. Field observations and sampling results indicated there were no impacts to fish or risk to human health resulting from the discharge. Since Aug. 20 Smithfield’s wastewater plant has been operating in compliance with their permit.
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 https://denr.sd.gov/des/sw/swdischargepermits.aspx.
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