Tyson Foods officials have confirmed an accidental release of partially treated wastewater from a plant in Hanceville, Ala., has polluted a local waterway in northern Alabama, killing a large number of fish throughout connected streams and tributaries of Mulberry Fork River. The ecological impact could be seen for 13 miles upstream, according to local news reports.
The spill took place June 6 and Tyson Foods said the site where the spill came from involves a rendering business for River Valley Ingredients, which is used in animal food.
Tyson Foods spokesman Worth Sparkman said the company deeply regrets the incident and has been working with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to make things right.
“We have an environmental contractor onsite and in the waterways, actively working on clean-up and the collection of fish impacted by this incident,” Sparkman told the media. “Monitoring on Tuesday (July 11) shows dissolved oxygen levels are back to normal in the waterways, which is better for all wildlife connected to the creeks and rivers. Our core values include serving as stewards of the environment — in Alabama and every community where we operate — and we take that obligation seriously. 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.”
Tyson Foods acquired the property in 2018 as part of its $850-million acquisition of American Proteins. The acquisition included four rendering plants located in Georgia and Alabama and 13 blending facilities located throughout the southeast and Midwest. The facilities provide additional capacity to Tyson Foods’ current animal byproducts business.
Approximately 700 people transferred to Tyson Foods with the acquisition.