Tyson spill; public encouraged to avoid Dave Young Creek, Mulberry Fork

The incident occurred at the Tyson rendering plant (formerly American Proteins), located at 1170 County Road 508 in Hanceville. (Worth Sparkman)

Updated 6-7-19 2:21 p.m.
HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Tyson Foods, Inc. issued a public notice Friday, saying, “Due to a failure in a pipe owned by River Valley Ingredients located near Hanceville, Alabama, partially treated effluent (liquid waste/sewage) is believed to have reached the Dave Young Creek, which flows to the Mulberry Fork.”
The incident occurred at the Tyson rendering plant (formerly American Proteins), located at 1170 County Road 508 in Hanceville.

According to Tyson’s Worth Sparkman, “In an abundance of caution, the public is encouraged to avoid recreating in Dave Young Creek or the Mulberry Fork until further notice.”

Sparkman said River Valley Ingredients acted quickly and is engaged with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and has an environmental management company actively working on clean-up.

“The company is dedicated to swift remediation of this issue,” he said.

The Tribune received the following statement from the Black Warrior Riverkeeper organization’s Nelson Brooke Friday afternoon:

American Proteins had a large wastewater spill (undisclosed amount) sometime yesterday, which caused a massive fish kill.  The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries (DCNR) and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) are conducting an investigation into the wastewater spill and resulting fish kill today. Unfortunately, everyone should avoid contact with the Mulberry Fork downstream until further notice.

American Proteins [1170 Co. Rd. 508 | Hanceville, AL 35077 (256) 352-9821)], which they say is the largest rendering plant in the world, is now owned by Tyson. The sprawling plant receives chicken carcasses from slaughterhouses across Alabama and cooks them down into protein products. This facility has a history of spills and fish kills due to poor housekeeping and maintenance.

ADEM is responsible for holding American Proteins accountable for the spill, and should levy a stiff penalty to encourage better housekeeping and deter future spills and fish kills.  ADEM failed to issue a stiff penalty in 2016 when American Proteins spilled 900 gallons of sulfuric acid into the river, killing around 40,000 fish.  The fine levied by ADEM for that spill and kill was a mere slap on the wrist.  Join us in demanding that ADEM hold American Proteins accountable!

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Wendy Sack