Tyson Foods has agreed to pay close to $4 million in civil penalties to settle alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act in four Midwestern states including Missouri.
According to a consent decree filed on Friday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, the penalties are in response to eight accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia at Tyson facilities between 2006 and 2010.
Anhydrous ammonia is a poisonous gas that is commonly used in industrial refrigeration systems. Exposure can cause eye damage and irritation of the skin and respiratory tract.
The incidents in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa involved property damage, injuries, and one death.
As part of the consent decree, Tyson will conduct pipe-testing and third-party audits of its ammonia refrigeration systems at its Midwestern facilities. In Missouri, that includes operations in Concordia, Dexter, Monett, Montgomery City, Noel, and Sedalia.
Tyson Foods is headquartered in Arkansas and is one of the world's largest meat processing companies. In a statement on its website, Tyson says it has cooperated with the EPA and addressed the agency's concerns.