Tyson Foods, Inc., has agreed to pay a $3,950,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of Clean Air Act regulations covering the prevention of chemical accidents at its facilities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
As part of a consent decree lodged today in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, Mo., Tyson has agreed to conduct pipe-testing and third-party audits of its ammonia refrigeration systems to improve compliance with the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program requirements at all 23 of the company’s facilities in the four Midwestern states.
Those facilities include Tyson operations in Cherokee, Columbus Junction, Council Bluffs, Denison, Perry, Sioux City, Storm Lake and Waterloo in Iowa; Emporia, Finney County, Olathe, South Hutchinson and Hutchinson in Kansas; Concordia, Dexter, Monett, Montgomery City, Noel and Sedalia in Missouri; and Dakota City, Lexington, Madison and Omaha in Nebraska.
Today’s settlement stems from a series of eight separate incidents between 2006 and 2010 in which accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia at Tyson facilities resulted in property damage, multiple injuries, and one fatality.
Through a series of inspections and information requests, EPA found multiple occasions of noncompliance with the Clean Air Act’s chemical accident prevention provisions at Tyson’s facilities.
Dating back to October 2006, those violations included failures to follow the general industry standards to test or replace safety relief valves, improperly co-located gas-fired boilers and ammonia machinery, as well as failures to abide by the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program prevention and reporting requirements.
Tyson, headquartered in Springdale, Ark., is the world’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork.