Sewage spill into Black Warrior river, killing wildlife

Sewage from plant killing wildlife

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Neighbors in Hanceville are being told to stay away from the Mulberry Fork River, after sewage from a nearby plant spilled into the water on Thursday; wreaking havoc on wildlife.

Dead fish lay along the banks and floating downstream on the Mulberry Fork River.

The source of the problem could be found about 13 miles upstream, at Tyson Foods Incorporated.

Representatives for the animal processing plant announced raw sewage had spilled from a pipe into the Dave Young Creek, which flows into the Mulberry Fork River .

The company is urging people to stay away from the water.

Nelson Brooke, with the Black Warrior River Keepers, says the spill is a major disruption.

“It killed a lot of fish in the river. Everything from minnow to much larger fish like bass and bar,” Brooke said.

He warns not to consume any wildlife from the river or get into the water.

“Because we really don’t know the seriousness or the magnitude. But we know it’s obviously terrible enough to kill off a lot of different critters including turtles,” Brooke said.

“People are very upset about what happened this week, but they’re also very upset about the fact that this is not the first time.”

In 2016, approximately 900 gallons of sulfuric acid mixed with storm water, spilled into the Mulberry Fork river.

“The Department of Environmental management only fined them $19,000 for killing nearly 40,000 fish," Brooke said.

However, according to an Alabama Department Environment Management representative, the state fined American Proteins $50,000 in 2016.

“Not even a slap on the wrist for a facility this size.”

He says more needs to be done by the government to prevent this from happening again.

In a statement, Tyson Foods says River Valley Ingredients acted immediately to mitigate the flow. The company has hired an environmental management contractor to assist with the clean-up. The statement says RVI is dedicated to resolving the issue as quickly as possible.

The company encourages everyone to avoid the Mulberry Fork until further notice.

Copyright 2019 WBRC. All rights reserved.