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Tyson Foods to Pay $7.5 Million for Federal and State Clean Water Violations

Release Date: 07/03/2003
Contact Information:

John Millett 202-564-7842 /

(07/03/03) On June 25, in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., Tyson Foods Inc., pled guilty to 20 felony violations of the federal Clean Water Act and agreed to pay $7.5 million to the United States and the State of Missouri. The plea agreement will settle all federal and state charges against the company for illegal discharges at its Sedalia, Mo., processing plant. In addition, Tyson Foods will hire an outside environmental consultant to audit the Sedalia plant’s environmental management program and will implement an improved environmental program based on the audit’s findings. Each day, the Sedalia plant processes approximately 1 million pounds of chicken and generates hundreds of thousands of gallons of wastewater. Between 1996 and 2001, the plant repeatedly discharged untreated or inadequately treated wastewater from the Sedalia plant in violation of the limits in its discharge permit. Repeated citations and lawsuits by the State of Missouri did not bring the plant into compliance. Discharging wastewater containing higher than permitted levels of processing wastes can harm fish and wildlife and make surface waters unuseable for recreational and drinking water purposes. The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the FBI with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City, Mo., and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.