BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A large fish kill has occurred in northern Alabama following the release of partially treated effluent from a nearby Tyson Foods Inc. plant. According to multiple media reports, area residents are being told to stay away from the water.
A rendering facility owned by Tyson Foods in Hanceville, Alabama, is responsible for the spill into the Dave Young Creek, which feeds into the Mulberry Fork River. The river runs north of Birmingham, Alabama, the most populated city in the state.
Tyson Foods Spokesman Worth Sparkman provided MEAT+POULTRY with a statement on the steps being taken to rectify the issue.
"We’ve been working diligently and cooperatively with the Alabama Dept. of Environmental Management and Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources. We are working to make things right and have an environmental contractor on-site and in the waterways, actively working on clean-up and the collection of fish impacted by this incident,” Sparkman said.
The statement also said that dissolved oxygen levels were back to normal in the waterways as of June 11.
“Our core values include serving as stewards of the environment — in Alabama and every community where we operate — and we take that obligation seriously,” Sparkman continued. “Our focus is to deal with the issue at hand, so it’s too early to speculate on our longer-term remediation efforts, but we want the community to know we will be considering several opportunities."
The Alabama Dept. of Environmental Management (ADEM) released a statement regarding the situation.
“The Department has conducted water quality testing downstream of the release. In addition, the Department has been in contact with the Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) which is assessing the extent of the fish kill, and will be providing its report to the department,” the statement said. “The department has also been in contact with the facility regarding their response to the release. ADEM is in the process of gathering all of the information and reviewing the data that has been collected. Recent water quality data obtained by ADEM indicates that the dissolved oxygen has improved in Mulberry Fork since the release.”