Smithfield Foods: Improving water quality with US$45m system

Investing US$45m, Smithfield Foods is improving its water quality in Big Sioux River with its new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system

Replacing the majority of the existing system at its pork processing complex, Smithfield Foods has invested US$45m into the development of a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

"This new state-of-the-art wastewater project reinforces Smithfield's proactive approach to implementing sustainable systems that improve environmental quality and benefit the community. The investment we have made in Sioux Falls will significantly reduce nutrient discharges and improve water quality in the Big Sioux River basin,"  said Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer for Smithfield.

Innovating to drive sustainable actions

The new wastewater treatment system provides additional processes and capabilities to meet new and more stringent permit limits on nitrates and ammonia. 

How does it work? 

The upgraded system biologically converts ammonia-nitrogen in wastewater into nitrate-nitrogen, which is then removed from the wastewater - a process known as denitrification. The new denitrification process - which is strongly preferred by the US Environmental Protection Agency due to its reduced impact on aquatic life - will reduce Smithfield Foods’ overall nitrogen load by more than two-thirds. 

Furthering its sustainability efforts and commitments

Having already invested US$10m into its wastewater treatment system over the last several years, Smithfield Foods has been a leader in sustainability for more than two decades. 

Vocalising its commitment to sustainability the company has made industry-leading goals to become carbon negative in its US company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions by 30% across its entire US value chain by 2030

Who is Smithfield Foods?

Founded in 1936, Smithfield Foods has been operating for more than 80 years in the food production industry. Today the company employs nearly 60,000 people across seven countries and partners with thousands of American farmers. 

Being one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies, Smithfield Foods is dedicated to producing ‘good food, responsibly’ to feed a growing world population. 

“We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades [...] We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community outreach programs in all 50 U.S. states” - Smithfield Foods.

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