Watering those (pork) plants

Friday, March 10, 2017

It is mind-boggling to consider the astronomical amounts of water required for the new Seaboard Triumph Foods pork processing plant scheduled to be in operation July 31 in Sioux City.

To be the city’s largest water and wastewater customer in history, Seaboard Triumph officials say the plant will process up to 12,000 hogs per day and employ about 1,100 with a single shift, and a second shift planned in the near future boosting employee numbers to more than 2,000.

That is some dynamic economic development for any city and the plant’s gigantic footprint will cast many more ripples than those in the water throughout the community and the entire area.

With its Cherokee ties, we’ve paid close attention to the Seaboard Triumph project as it has unfolded in Northwest Iowa’s lone metro area. And we’re well aware of many existing and new pork producers throughout the area planning on sustaining and/or expanding their herds to accommodate the incredible demand and enhanced markets.

The plant will utilize more than 3 million gallons of water daily and generate another 3.3 million gallons per day of wastewater, both a boon and a boondoggle to municipal water and sewer facilities and the city officials who must ramp up all facets to accommodate such a revenue-producing giant.

In Comparison, the entire City of Cherokee and its guestimated 5,500 residents utilizes about 600,000 gallons of fresh water daily and processes about 1 million gallons of wastewater each day.

That difference in the Cherokee totals is attributed to infiltration of ground water finding its way into our aged, leaking water and sewer systems.

And that’s a problem Sioux City may start alleviating sooner than later when Seaboard Triumph starts paying their water-sewer bill.

In the meantime. let’s all pray the Dakota Aquifer and the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers keep on flowing.