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Tyson Poultry to pay $2M fine for violating Clean Water Act

By Ray Downs

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Tyson Poultry Inc. will pay a $2 million fine after pleading guilty to violations of the federal Clean Water Act at its slaughter and processing facility in Monett, Mo., that led to a major fish kill event in 2014, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

In the plea agreement, the Springdale, Ark.-based company will also pay $500,000 for damages, serve two years of probation and retain an independent third-party auditor to examine environmental compliance at its facilities across the country.

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Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood for the Environment & Natural Resources Division said in a statement that the plea agreement "remedies the harm" Tyson caused in Monett and "puts safeguards in place to prevent similar occurrences" at the company's other facilities.

"When corporate misconduct disregards human safety or the environment in violation of federal laws, the Department of Justice and EPA stand ready to pursue all necessary legal relief, including criminal penalties, to ensure that these acts do not go unpunished," Wood said. "We hope that the outcome of this case will be a lesson for all companies that deal with dangerous wastes."

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In May 2014, the company used a tank in an Aurora, Mo., feed mill to store Alimet, a chemical feed supplement. But the tank sprung a leak and Tyson officials transported the spilled substance to its Monett plant 13 miles away, where the Alimet was discharged into the sewers and flowed into the municipal waste water treatment plant.

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"The Alimet killed bacteria used to reduce ammonia in discharges from the treatment plant," the Justice Department said. "As a result, more ammonia was released from the plant into Clear Creek, and approximately 108,000 fish were killed."

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