PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) imposed a fine of $53,382 against Smithfield Foods Inc. for violations of the company’s surface water discharge permit that occurred in August.

Smithfield operates a wastewater treatment plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to treat wastewater from the company’s processing plant. On Aug. 15, according to the DENR, the company reported a problem at the wastewater plant that caused ammonia levels discharged into the Big Sioux River that exceeded the regulatory limits allowed under the company’s surface water discharge permit. For seven days, ammonia levels violated daily permitted levels. At the same time, the treatment plant had two daily maximum fecal coliform violations and one daily maximum total suspended solids violations, DENR reported.

Investigators from DENR collected 100 water quality samples between Aug. 16 and Aug. 27 which revealed no impacts to fish or risk to human health resulting from the discharge. Smithfield’s wastewater plant has been operating in compliance with the company’s permit since Aug. 20.

DENR said the $53,382 penalty includes $26,900 for surface water quality violations and $26,482 for laboratory costs incurred by the agency.

“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 taxpayer dollars spent to respond to the discharge.”