According to the DENR, the Sioux Falls pork-packing plant reported violating its surface water discharge permit on August 15:
On Aug. 15, Smithfield Foods reported its wastewater treatment plant had an upset. Consequently, ammonia concentrations in the discharge from their Sioux Falls facility are higher than the regulatory limits in their Surface Water Discharge Permit. Levels could pose threats to fish life, but no risks to human health [Department of Environment and Natural Resources, “Wastewater Treatment Plant Upset at Smithfield Foods,” press release, 2018.08.17].
“Upset” seems an unusual term to use in this context. Does “upset” differ from “accident” or “failure”?
DENR Secretary Steve Pirner says, “it appears Smithfield Foods is responding appropriately.” DENR appears sufficiently unconcerned that it takes time in its official press release to advertise for Smithfield Foods:
Smithfield Foods operates a pork production facility in Sioux Falls, employing about 3,500 people. Smithfield produces fresh pork, bacon, deli meats, hot dogs, and smoked meats marketed under brand names such as Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Nathan’s Famous®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook’s®, and John Morrell® [DENR, 2018.08.17].
After DENR gets done hawking wieners, let’s hope they take this spill as an opportunity to update Smithfield Foods’ pollution permit.