Tyson Foods, Inc. agreed to pay the state of Missouri $539,898 in Clear Creek fish kill settlement agreement, announced Attorney General Chris Koster.
"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."
The state of Missouri has sued Tyson Foods over a fish kill that occurred in Clear Creek in Barry County last May.
Koster said in press release, “that beginning last May 16, 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 terms of the settlement agreement, Tyson Foods agreed to pay the state of Missouri for natural resource damages and reimburse the state’s Dept. of Natural resources and Dept. of Conversation for the costs and expenses of the clean-up at price tag of $209,898. In addition, the company also will pay $110,000 in civil penalties.
Furthermore, Tyson Foods will shell out $210,000 to replace the bridge over Clear Creek that acted as barrier to fish moving rapidly up and downstream. Also, the company agreed to 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.
Besides the monetary penalties, the agreement also outlined additional hazardous waste handling obligations for Tyson Foods. The state is obliging the company to prepare a hazardous waste manifest before transporting any hazardous waste. Tyson Foods must also allow the state of Missouri the right to inspect the Monett and Aurora facilities at any time to check for compliance with the law and monitor the progress of all activities required in the agreement.
Koster recognized the company has already taken steps to prevent the mistake to happen again. These steps include new company requirements to prevent, monitor and respond to animal-feed releases at its corporate feed mill. In addition, company-wide environmental operating procedures for feed chemical storage practices were established and personnel will receive additional hazardous waste and water discharge training.
Worth Sparkman, Tyson Foods Spokesman in statement said, “We deeply regret the incident in Clear Creek, near Monett, Missouri, this past May. We’ve worked diligently and cooperatively with state and other authorities to make things right, including entering into a settlement agreement with the state. 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,”