Tyson foods will pay for environmental damage

Tyson foods has admitted it caused a major sewage plant problem in Monett and a fish kill and will pay for the environmental damage.

Three years ago more than 100,000 fish were killed in Clear Creek. According to Tyson they accidentally discharged an animal feed in to the city of Monett's waste water.

"You know 10 to 14 days. We had out waste water plant put out of operation," said Dennis Pyle, Monett city administrator. "There was a significant odor issue in town during that time. And, we were finally able to resolve it."

Now as part of a plea agreement Tyson will pay $500,000 in damages. The first half of it will go to making improvements at the waste water plant in Monett.

"We will make improvements to our final clarifier, our sludge holding basin and our head works building which will all help the plant operate as efficiently as it can," Pyle explained.

They've already added a PH meter, and were able to get several ammonia test kits. The other half of the settlement will be given to area environmental groups. The James River Basin Partnership will receive $50,000. Forty thousand of which will be allotted for a septic tank program.

"We actually send them $50 if they participate in the program and do get their septic tank pumped," said Tiffany Frey, James River Basin Partnership. " So we send them a financial incentive, and then we also send them information on septic tank care."

The other $10,000 is for restoring and protecting the Wilson's Creek riparian corridor.

"That area is one of the most important parts of stream health. It's like the kidneys of the river. It helps to filter the water as it comes into the river. It's just apart of the importance of the health of the ecosystem," Frey explained. "We'll have a program, the rest of the $10,000 will help support that program in tree planting in supporting volunteers helping us with the tree planting."

The remaining $200,000 dollars will be given to the Nature Conservancy of Missouri. It'll fund a project to help eroded stream banks along the Elk River. The sentencing is expected to occur within the next few months.