The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

May 29, 2014

Conservation officials counting losses in Monett-area fish kill

MONETT, Mo. — There is some better news in the wake of a chemical spill that killed thousands of fish between Monett and Pierce City.

“We believe it’s subsided to the point we can’t find any new dead fish,” Andy Austin, fisheries regional supervisor with the Missouri Department of Conservation office in Springfield, said Thursday.

The Conservation Department, along with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, is investigating water contamination that caused a significant fish kill in a 4.5-mile stretch of Clear Creek.

No new dead fish were found, Austin said, when investigators went back to areas checked earlier where the fish kill seemed to have stopped.

“Yesterday (Wednesday), we established the downstream limit of the fish kill,” Austin said. “When we returned to that location today, we did not see any additional dead fish, and we saw some that were living. There are parts of the stream where it’s going to be a very significant fish kill, to the point of very few fish surviving. But the good news is, it didn’t expand downstream today, and we don’t expect it to.”

Investigators believe the cause of the kill was an undisclosed quantity of Alimet, an amino acid compound that Tyson Foods uses as a feed ingredient for its poultry operations in the area, going into Monett’s wastewater treatment plant on May 16. Skip Schaller, utilities superintendent at Monett, said the compound killed the bacteria that process the wastewater effluent, and caused virtually undiluted ammonia to flow into Clear Creek.

Schaller said Alimet, because of its extremely low pH level, is not something that can be treated by Monett’s plant. The plant’s operators were not informed by Tyson Foods that the chemical was being placed into their system, he said.

Officials have said the Alimet reportedly spilled at Tyson’s feed mill in Aurora. Tyson workers shipped the compound to Tyson’s pre-treatment plant next to its poultry plant in Monett. Wastewater from the poultry plant is pre-treated before it enters Monett’s municipal sewage plant.

Schaller said he expects a meeting will be arranged with Tyson officials and representatives of the Department of Natural Resources to make sure there is no recurrence.

Austin said the quality of water out of the Monett treatment plant “is greatly improved.”

“With good quality water coming out of the plant and no additional bad water, the material killing the fish is moving downstream and diluting to the point that the acute part of the fish kill is over,” he said.

Austin said the Department of Conservation will establish the number of fish killed in a report to go to the DNR, but numbers will not be available until a DNR report is released.

“This was a very significant kill,” he said. “Frequently, a kill involves one type of fish or species, or it will affect bigger fish more than small. This was so pervasive that all sizes and all species were impacted.”

Worth Sparkman, corporate spokesman for Tyson Foods, on Thursday said the company has no new information on the spill and “is awaiting additional details so we can understand if our operations played a role in what happened.”


WHILE CONSERVATION OFFICIALS are assessing the damage, any enforcement action that results from the spill will come from the Department of Natural Resources, which enforces the state’s water quality regulations.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • r072414trainwreck.jpg Coming Sunday: Service to mark the centennial of deadly train wreck

    One of the deadliest train wrecks in U.S. history occurred a century ago just south of Joplin, near Tipton Ford.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • 1717 Marketplace developer facing more federal charges

    The Springfield developer of 1717 Marketplace on Range Line Road in Joplin is now facing additional bankruptcy fraud charges beyond those leveled against him last year for a series of bank fraud and wire fraud schemes.

    July 25, 2014

  • 072514_boyfriend3.jpg Overacted on purpose: 'The Boy Friend' is a send-off of '20s-era musicals

    The musical is filled with history. It is the third-longest-running musical in British history, and Julie Andrews starred in the Broadway debut of the play in America. The musical is also the first Broadway musical to be performed by Joplin Little Theatre, which first picked up the script in 1960, about 20 years after its formation.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514_chubby.jpg Grammy win has kept zydeco singer Chubby Carrier busy

    Since winning a Grammy for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album in 2011, Chubby Carrier's schedule has filled up. But he is thrilled to be able to return to Joplin.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Scratch this off your list

    Missouri voters will go to the polls on Aug. 5 and consider a measure that would create a new lottery ticket devoted to helping fund the Missouri Veterans Commission.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Oklahoma appellate court upholds class-action status in lawsuit filed by Picher residents

    An appellate court this week upheld a 2013 lower court ruling permitting class-action status for a lawsuit brought by former residents of Picher, Oklahoma, against a Tulsa-based appraisal firm involved with the buyout.

    July 25, 2014

  • Hospital Shooting 2.jpg Cause sought for gunfight between patient, doctor

    Authorities are attempting to determine why a patient fatally shot a caseworker at a suburban Philadelphia hospital complex and whether a psychiatrist who pulled out his own gun and wounded the patient had concerns about him.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014