SMITHFIELD, VA. -- The State Water Control Board has questioned a study that concluded that Smithfield Foods Inc. cannot meet new state pollution guidelines.
The company says it may have to close some operations if forced to try to meet the standards.
John V. Roland, director of the agency's enforcement division, told Smithfield Foods last week that the company's study, released last October, does not adequately address some wastewater treatment options and contains inaccuracies that might affect its conclusions.
Roland said Friday that the agency will meet with company representatives this week to discuss the concerns.
The State Water Control Board wants Smithfield Foods to reduce the phosphorus in wastewater discharged from its plants to 2 parts per million, about a 95 percent decrease from current levels.
The agency asked Smithfield Foods to study whether the meatpacking plants could treat the water and meet the standards. It also asked the Hampton Roads Sanitation District to determine whether its Suffolk facility could treat the water. Smithfield Foods is supposed to choose one of these options by Feb. 15.
The sanitary district concluded that Smithfield Foods' wastewater could be treated for $2 million a year, once a sewer line is extended from Suffolk into Smithfield.
Smithfield Foods concluded that it could not consistently meet the phosphorus limits at its facilities.