River Valley Ingredients issued the following statement last Wednesday:
“River Valley Ingredients would like for the public to know that as of today, June 12, 2019, the Mulberry Fork and the Sipsey Fork near Hanceville, Alabama, are available for recreation. Oxygen levels in the water have returned to normal, which are appropriate for area wildlife. Again, we deeply regret the incident and appreciate the coordination of efforts and help we received from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. We will be seeking guidance from both agencies on our longer-term remediation efforts and will communicate those to the community once we’ve decided on the course of action.”
On Thursday, the Black Warrior Riverkeeper organization posted the following statement and the photo at right on its Facebook page:
“Tyson fish kill update 6/13: Today we called Tyson Foods and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to get more information on the spill at Tyson’s chicken rendering facility near Hanceville, and its downstream impacts. As of 4:30 p.m. we have received no responses or updates from either party. Our water sampling this Monday at the confluence of the Mulberry and Sipsey Forks, 28 miles downstream of Tyson, returned results for E. coli of nearly 600 col./100mL, double the maximum amount allowed by the state of Alabama in surface waters during the summer recreation season. This Tuesday, ADEM confirmed finding pathogens but did not specify where, when, or at what amount. This Wednesday, Tyson reported that dissolved oxygen was improving in the Mulberry Fork but did not specify where or when. Tyson also oddly announced that folks could start enjoying the river again, but only based that vague suggestion on improved dissolved oxygen, which has little relevance to human safety (unlike bacteria). Meanwhile, Tyson’s slug of spilled waste water continues to head downriver. We continue to recommend that people and their pets avoid contact with the Mulberry Fork for the time being, especially where water is muddy, stinky, or carrying dead fish.”
This week Tyson Foods, Inc. has applied for a permit from ADEM to increase its discharge of treated water from the Blountsville chicken processing plant and to change the discharge point from Graves Creek to the Locust Fork River at a point not far upstream from the new overlook at U.S. 231 in Cleveland.
ADEM will receive public comments about the proposal until July 12. Interested readers are encourage to visit ADEM’s website (www.adem.state. al.us/newsEvents/notices/jun19/6npdes2. html) to submit comments. For more immediate, detailed information and assistance on how to post comments to ADEM, The Black Warrior Riverkeeper organization can be contacted at 205-458-0095 or through the website blackwarriorriver.org.
More details regarding this development will be available in next week’s edition.