Tyson settles federal charges from fish kill incident in 2014

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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The wastewater spill was at the company's Monett, Missouri, facility.
 
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tyson Poultry Inc., a business unit of Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc., announced on Sept. 27 it was taking full responsibility for a 2014 environmental incident at its Monett, Missouri, facility involving “unlawful dumping of untreated wastewater.” Tyson reached a civil settlement with the state of Missouri in 2015.

According to a statement, Tyson will pay a $2 million fine to the federal government and make a $500,000 community service payment, with half going to the City of Monett and half to Missouri environmental organizations. They will also fund third-party environmental audits of feed mills and wastewater treatment plants.

“An unfortunate mistake was made by our company in May 2014 that resulted in the accidental release of an animal feed ingredient into the City of Monett’s wastewater treatment system,” Tyson said in its statement. “We deeply regret the mistake that was made and have taken corrective action to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We’re committed to doing better in all areas of our business, especially when it comes to protecting the environment.”

Tyson received a shipment of wastewater containing Alimet, which is a liquid animal feed supplement, from another company facility in Aurora, Missouri. Tyson sent the wastewater to its pre-treatment facility and later discharged the water to the city of Monett's sewer system.

The Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) said the discharge caused operational problems at the city's wastewater treatment facility. Dead fish were discovered along a six-mile stretch of Clear Creek when the Monett Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facility discharged the water into a tributary of Clear Creek.

In June of that year, the Missouri DNR sent a notice of violation to Tyson regarding the fish kill. In that same report Missouri DNR also cited the city of Monett for failing "to operate and maintain facilities to comply with the Missouri Clean Water Law and applicable permit conditions.”

After that, then-Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a lawsuit against Tyson Foods that included six counts of state waters and violations of Missouri's hazardous waste laws.

Following involvement by the EPA, Tyson came to an agreement with the state of Missouri in January 2015 to pay the state $162,898 for natural resource damages in addition to $110,000 in civil penalties. The company also reimbursed the Missouri DNR more than $11,000 for its costs and expenses, and reimbursed the Missouri Dept. of Conservation more than $36,000 for that agency's costs and expenses.

“Since the incident, we’ve conducted lessons learned training for all environmental managers in our poultry operations and have strengthened our environmental policies and procedures to help prevent similar mistakes,” according to Tyson.

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