Plant officials said a 12-inch waste water line ruptured about 8:30 Monday morning. The rupture occurred in the Smithfield Packaging portion of the plant, situated near Tar Heel in Bladen County.
The mechanical failure affected a pump system that carries waste products from one section of the plant into another building.
Rescue crews who responded to the emergency call termed the situation an explosion.
The four people who were hurt sustained minor injuries. Taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, two of them were released by noon and another two were expected to be released in the afternoon.
It is thought that injuries could have been more extensive, but the plant was on shift break so relatively few people were in the area where the rupture occurred.
The rupture was in the rear room of the central part of the large building.
Approximately 3200 workers will be idle today as repairs are made. The force of the explosion damaged the room in which it occurred as well as an adjacent room. Both must be cleaned up.
Jere Null, speaking for Carolina Food Processors, said it will be business as usual for first shift tomorrow.
Fire crews are still on the scene.
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