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Missouri files lawsuit against Tyson Foods over water contamination

June 24, 2014
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<photocredit>Photo copyright Tyson Foods</photocredit>

Missouri's Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit against Tyson Foods, accusing the company of illegally discharging untreated industrial wastewater into Clear Creek in the southwestern part of the state.

According to the legal documents, the incident led to the death of up to 100,000 fish. The lawsuit includes six counts for pollution of state waters and violations of the state's hazardous waste laws. The Attorney General is seeking financial penalties for Tyson Foods and compensation for the damage caused to the creek. In addition, the lawsuit asks the company to reimburse the state's costs for investigating the incident.

The discharge occurred on May 16, when Tyson Foods' facility at Monett released highly acidic wastewater into the city's sewer system. Due to the unusually high acid concentration in the untreated water, the city's biological wastewater treatment system failed, resulting in wastewater contaminated with high levels of ammonia flowing into Clear Creek, the Attorney General Office said.

Tyson Foods caused damage to Clear Creek and threatened its usability as a resource for communities in Southwest Missouri, so the company will be held accountable and will be required to make sure a similar incident does not happen again, Koster commented.

Meanwhile, Tyson Foods' spokesman Worth Sparkman told the City Wire that the company was very sorry for the incident and was taking corrective action.

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