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Smithfield Foods' $45 Million Wastewater Management: Pioneering Sustainable Solutions in Sioux Falls

Food Industry Wastewater Management

In a groundbreaking move towards environmental sustainability, Smithfield Foods recently unveiled a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system at its pork processing facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This $45 million investment, completed in July, not only meets regulatory requirements, but sets a new standard for responsible wastewater management within the food processing industry.

Regulatory Requirements & Effectiveness

The driving force behind this revolutionary wastewater treatment system was a revised discharge permit issued in July 2020, mandating a reduction in nitrates to less than 50 mg/l. To meet this requirement, Smithfield incorporated advanced denitrification processes, including new aeration/anoxic basins, ultrafiltration, and UV disinfection. Jason Lindquist, Smithfield's Director of Environmental Affairs, emphasized the effectiveness of the Biologic Nutrient Removal system in achieving a 70-plus% reduction of nitrates, aligning seamlessly with the new permit limits.

Wastewater Management Sophistication

This cutting-edge wastewater treatment system showcases a higher level of sophistication compared to its predecessor, with scalability in mind. Lindquist revealed that the facility can potentially treat 40% more flow than its current capacity, allowing room for future growth. Key technologies, such as ultrafiltration and ultraviolet disinfection, not only eliminate total suspended solids but also ensure compliance with discharge limitations, reducing chemical usage and environmental impact.

Meeting the Needs of Now & the Future

The Sioux Falls wastewater treatment system not only meets compliance requirements but exceeds expectations, underscoring Smithfield's commitment to sustainability. Lindquist highlighted the impressive results, with ammonia discharge routinely running at 5% of the permit limit and 60% less than the old system's discharge. The system consistently operates at reduced levels for Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS), achieving a remarkable 74% reduction in BOD and an 85% reduction in TSS compared to the previous system.

Smithfield Foods' $45 million investment in the Sioux Falls wastewater treatment system is a testament to the company's dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. By surpassing regulatory demands and achieving exceptional results, Smithfield emerges as a leader in responsible wastewater management within the food processing industry. This innovative project not only meets the needs of today, but positions Smithfield for a sustainable and scalable future in wastewater management.


Eadie, J. (January 9, 2024). Revolutionizing Wastewater Management: Smithfield Foods’ $45 Million Investment in Sioux Falls Facility.


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