- freeimages.com/Andreas KrappweisTyson Foods has agreed to pay $539,000 for a chemical discharge that was responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 fish.
Tyson Foods will pay about $539,000 for a chemical discharge that killed more than 100,000 fish and caused a the wastewater treatment system to fail in Monett, Missouri, announced Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
Koster said that beginning May 16, 2014, the Tyson Foods facility at Monett discharged wastewater from Tyson’s Aurora facility containing a highly acidic animal feed supplement into the city of Monett’s sewer system. The discharge caused the city’s biological wastewater treatment system to fail, and contaminated water containing a high level of ammonia flowed into Clear Creek, causing at least 100,000 fish to die.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Tyson Foods will pay the state of Missouri $162,898 for natural resource damages. In addition, Tyson Foods will pay $110,000 in civil penalties, will reimburse the Missouri Department of Natural Resources more than $11,000 for its costs and expenses, and will reimburse the Missouri Department of Conservation more than $36,000 for its costs and expenses.
Tyson will also pay to replace a bridge over Clear Creek at Farm Road 1050 in Lawrence County that has acted as a barrier to fish moving readily up and downstream. Tyson will donate $10,000 to the James River Basin Partnership, a not-for-profit organization that works to improve and protect the water quality of all rivers, lakes and streams in the James River watershed, located in seven counties in Southwest Missouri. If the cost of the bridge is less than $210,000, Tyson will also donate additional funds up to that amount to the partnership.
The agreement also outlines additional obligations of Tyson, including preparation of a hazardous waste manifest before transporting any hazardous waste in Missouri, and allows the state of Missouri the right to inspect the Monett and Aurora facilities at any time to check for compliance with the law and to monitor the progress of all activities required in the agreement.
Koster said the company has already taken steps to ensure the mistake does not occur again, including:
•New requirements and practices to prevent, monitor and respond to animal-feed releases at its corporate feed mills
•Additional hazardous waste and water discharge training to personnel at the Monett and Aurora facilities
•A new, company-wide environmental operating procedure that focuses on feed mill chemical storage practices
•A summit of managers at all its Missouri facilities to conduct a comprehensive review of environmental issues at those facilities.
"Tyson’s actions threatened the vitality of Clear Creek," Koster said. "While Tyson has taken steps to prevent similar environmental damage to the creek in the future, the penalties contained in this agreement hold the company accountable for the damage that occurred."
Tyson Foods, in a statement, expressed regret for the incident.
"Tyson Foods' core values include serving as stewards of the environment — in Missouri and every community where we operate — and we take that obligation seriously," the company said in a statement.