Smithfield Foods employees joined volunteers across the United States and more than a dozen countries to collect water samples from local rivers and lakes as part of World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD) activities on Saturday, Oct. 18.
Smithfield employees in 10 states and Poland tested water samples from 31 sites, including the James River (Virginia), Potomac River (Maryland), Rio Grande River (Texas), Fox River (Wisconsin), Turkey Creek (North Carolina) and rivers and streams in Poland.
Created by America's Clean Water Foundation, WWMD engages the public, governments and corporate leaders in global efforts to protect and enhance worldwide water quality.
"Smithfield Foods has been most gracious in its support of World Water Monitoring Day, supportive in terms of a fiscal contribution, but more importantly in terms of employee involvement," said Roberta (Robbi) Savage, president and board chair of America's Clean Water Foundation.
"Smithfield Foods is proud to be a sponsor of World Water Monitoring Day because we are concerned about the critical need for clean water," said Dennis Treacy, vice president, environmental, community and government affairs for Smithfield Foods.
"This worldwide event demonstrates that clean water is absolutely essential for drinking, recreation and commerce. Like so many others, Smithfield depends on clean water for our operations and we encourage our fellow citizens to become involved in this worthwhile effort every year to monitor water quality in our local communities," Treacy said.
Using a simple water monitoring kit, volunteers collected samples for four key tests: pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and clarity. Participants then entered water sample data into the WWMD database at www.worldwatermonitoringday.org. Data will help in drafting summary comparisons reflecting water quality conditions throughout the world.
"Smithfield employees all over the country were in the water this past week to take samples for pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen and clarity. In addition, the Smithfield family of companies invited their neighbors to join with them in sampling waterways in their respective communities," Savage said. "I congratulate Smithfield Foods and its subsidiaries on their willingness to get involved, to commit their time, their energy, their creativity and their funding to support the inauguration of World Water Monitoring Day."
Paul Reiter, executive director of the International Water Association, said, "We hope people will adopt a local waterway and sample and report on its quality year after year. By working together, we intend to create a global core of concerned and action-oriented citizens who will become an important part of our efforts to educate the world's citizens about the critical need for clean, pure water."
Based in Smithfield, Va., Smithfield Foods is a diversified food company with annualized sales of $8 billion that produces and sells food products under about 50 brand names.
World Water Monitoring Day was inspired by the success of the National Water Monitoring Day event in the United States in 2002, which marked the 30th anniversary of initial passage of the U.S. Clean Water Act. It serves as a yearly platform for watershed leaders, educators and trained volunteers to help others better understand how the actions of individuals affect everyone.
The goal is to increase the public's awareness of its role in protecting and preserving the quality of the world's waters by inviting a wide range of citizens to work alongside more experienced monitors to help sample water quality.