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Smithfield Foods fined over $53K for water quality violations

PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources has fined Smithfield Foods over $53,000 for water quality violations.

According to the DENR, for seven days in August, the meat-packing company's Sioux Falls wastewater treatment plant discharged ammonia into the Big Sioux River at higher levels than the daily maximum limit allowed by their environmental permits. During the same time period, Smithfield's plant also violated discharge daily maximum limits of fecal bacteria and suspended solids for two days and one day, respectively.

The $53,000 in total fines includes $26,900 in surface water quality violations and over $26,400 for lab costs incurred by DENR.

In a Wednesday news release, DENR Secretary Steve Pirner said, "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."

From observing the impacted area and studying over 100 field samples, the department found that the discharge had no impacts on fish or human health.

Smithfield has complied with their permits since August 20.

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