SMITHFIELD, VA. — Smithfield Foods Inc. announced the construction of a new $45 million wastewater system at its pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, SD.

The new system will replace the majority of the existing system, adding treatment processes and enhanced capabilities.

“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,” said Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer for Smithfield. “The investment we have made in Sioux Falls will significantly reduce nutrient discharges and improve water quality in the Big Sioux River basin.”

Through a treatment process known as denitrification, the new system converts ammonia-nitrogen found in wastewater to nitrate-nitrogen and proceeds to remove the nitrate-nitrogen. This new process is the preferred method of the US Environmental Protection Agency for the minimized impact of aquatic life. Smithfield said the process will reduce its overall nitrogen load to the Big Sioux River by at least 66%.

The company strives to be a leader in sustainability initiatives. Smithfield has made a commitment to be carbon negative and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% across US operations by 2030.

Over the past several years, Smithfield has invested $10 million in wastewater system improvements at the Sioux Falls plant. In 2021, the company upgraded the system to include a 25,013-square-foot addition.