Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced in Springfield today the state has reached a $540,000 settlement with Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) over a wastewater discharge in southwest Missouri in May that caused at least 100,000 fish to die. Beginning May 16
, Koster said the Tyson Foods facility in Monett released wastewater from Tyson’s facility in Aurora that contained a highly acidic animal-feed supplement into the city of Monett’s sewer system. The discharge caused Monett’s wastewater treatment system to fail, which allowed water containing a high level of ammonia to flow into Clear Creek, causing the fish kill, he said.
Under terms of the agreement, Tyson will pay the state $162,898 for damages to the creek. It also has agreed to pay $110,000 in civil penalties, which Koster said would go to schools in Barry County. The company will set aside $210,000 to replace a bridge over Clear Creek at Farm Road 1050 in Lawrence County that has acted as a barrier to fish moving upstream and downstream and should help to repopulate the stream, Koster said.
As part of the agreement, Tyson also will reimburse the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Conservation $11,000 and $36,000, respectively, for costs associated with the spill. In addition, the poultry-focused foods company will donate $10,000 to the James River Basin Partnership, a nonprofit that works to improve water quality.
Koster added this morning that Tyson must follow state requirements for transporting hazardous waste, and the agreement allows state officials to inspect the company’s facilities in Monett and Aurora at any time to ensure they are in compliance with the law.
“I want to commend Tyson for accepting responsibility for its actions and working with us to negotiate an appropriate settlement,” Koster said during a news conference this morning at the state office building on Park Central Square. “I also want to commend Tyson for already taking steps to ensure similar mistakes don’t happen in the future, including providing additional hazardous waste and water discharge training to personnel in its Monett and Aurora facilities and developing new, companywide environmental operating procedures that focus on feed-mill chemical storage.
“Missouri’s waterways are among this state’s important natural resources. Tyson’s conduct threatened Clear Creek as a resource in southwest Missouri. Our actions today hold Tyson accountable and serve as a reminder that the attorney general’s office will take swift action when needed to protect the waters of this state.”[[In-content Ad]]