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State files violation notice against Tyson Foods

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MONETT, Mo. (AP) — The state has filed a notice of violation against Tyson Foods after a chemical spill caused Monett's wastewater treatment plant to fail last month, leading to a large fish kill along a southwest Missouri stream.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources referred the incident to the Water Pollution Control Branch in Jefferson City, which will determine final action against Tyson. The city also was issued a violation notice for not meeting effluent limits from its wastewater treatment system, but DNR officials said Tyson appears to be responsible for the chemical discharge in May, The Joplin Globe reported (http://bit.ly/1pG7FzQ ).

The plant's failure caused a nearly complete fish kill in Clear Creek between Monett and Pierce City. The Missouri Department of Conservation is still tabulating the number of fish killed.

The DNR told Tyson in a letter dated June 5 that it is also conducting a hazardous waste investigation to determine if other violations occurred.

On May 16, Tyson's pre-treatment plant in Monett received wastewater containing Alimet, a liquid animal feed supplement, from another Tyson operation in Aurora. After the waste was pre-treated in Monett, it was discharged into the city sewage system, the DNR said. The chemical killed the bacteria that the wastewater plant used to treat effluent, allowing some contaminated water to flow into Clear Creek.

The plant had operational issues and violations of its effluent limits for total ammonia from May 19 to May 29, the DNR said.

Skip Schaller, utilities superintendent at Monett, on Tuesday said he would not comment until he could review the violation notice and investigative report.

Tyson spokesman Worth Sparkman said the company is working with city and state officials on the investigation.

"Like most people, we're very concerned about water quality and its impact on the surrounding environment. Water is a critical natural resource, and we work to protect it at all of our locations. We're awaiting additional discussions with the state and city so we can understand how our operations potentially played a role in what happened," he said.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com

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