Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tyson to Pay EPA $305K Fine

Charlotte, N.C -- Tyson Foods agreed to pay a $305,000 federal fine resulting from a spill of rendered oily chicken byproducts from its facility in Harmony, N.C., into two local water sources — Hunting Creek and the South Yadkin River, — according to settlement papers filed in federal court on Tuesday, May 27.

According to the complaints, a frozen valve had burst which resulted in a wastewater spill of approximately 210,000 gallons, which then inadvertently discharged into a nearby river. The river served two public surface water intakes downstream which were affected by the spill, one serving Mocksville and one serving Davie County. The water intakes were temporarily shut down for a brief period of time as a precaution.

“At the time of the incident, Tyson cooperated fully with local government and water treatment officials,” Tyson spokesman Worth Sparkman said.  Sparkman further insisted that there was no health risk to residents using the water at the time of the spill.

The incident occurred in January 2010 and Tyson was fined $8,375 by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which they paid back in 2010.

“The discharged oil caused a sheen, film, and discoloration of the surface of the water and adjoining shorelines of Hunting Creek and the South Yadkin River, and caused an emulsion to be deposited upon the adjoining shorelines of Hunting Creek and the South Yadkin River,” the EPA wrote in its complaint.

Tyson has 30 days to pay the federal fine, according to the settlement. Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, owner of Tyson Farms, is one of the largest food producers in the U.S. The company had $34.4 billion worth of sales in 2013. Almost a third of its revenue came from chickens, of which the company produces 41 million a week.