MONETT, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit against Tyson Foods for "unlawful dumping of untreated industrial wastewater" that led to a fish kill in a Southwest Missouri stream.
The lawsuit includes six counts against Tyson for pollution of state waters and violations of Missouri's hazardous waste laws. Koster is seeking penalties against the company, compensation for damage to the stream, Clear Creek, and reimbursement for costs associated with the state's investigation into the incident.
"Missouri's waterways are among our state's most important natural resources," Koster said in a statement. "Tyson's conduct threatened the vitality of Clear Creek as a resource for Southwest Missouri. Tyson Foods must be held accountable for dumping pollution into the waterways of Southwest Missouri, and this conduct must not happen again."
In May, Tyson received a shipment of wastewater containing Alimet, which is a liquid animal feed supplement, from another company facility in Aurora, Mo. Tyson reportedly sent the wastewater to its pre-treatment facility and later discharged the water to the city of Monett's sewer system. The Missouri Department 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 statement, the Tyson said "We’re sorry about what happened and have started trying to make things right. Through newspaper ads, we’re publicly apologizing to the people of Monett and Pierce City, we’ve met with some community leaders and we’ve asked to meet with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to see how we can help improve Clear Creek. We’ve also taken a hard look at how we manage environmental matters at Monett and are improving our processes because we don’t want this to ever happen again."
The DNR cited Tyson with a notice of violation for the fish kill. The agency also cited the city Monett for failing "to operate and maintain facilities to comply with the Missouri Clean Water Law and applicable permit conditions".