(CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. WIAT)– 220,000 thousand gallons of wastewater were spilled into the Mulberry Fork in early June. That spill caused a massive fishkill, leaving residents to watch roughly 175,000 thousand dead fish floating downstream.
Sunday afternoon, Cullman County residents gathered on the courthouse steps to take a stance against Tyson Foods. Protesters were heard chanting, “Clean water over profits!”
It isn’t just the June 4 spill that has resident concerned. Three years ago, that same plant was responsible for a 900-gallon sulfuric acid spill and was fined $50,000. Residents say even the maximum fine of $250,000 wouldn’t be enough.
“I think that the fine needs to fit the crime.”Elizabeth McDowell; Cullman County Resident
Protesters are thinking long term and want a plan in place to prevent future spills. “We need an independent group to go in there and completely oversee the maintenance, anything that needs to be fixed and repaired before we’re in the process of playing catch-up, and it’s happened again,” says Eric Gibson, a Cullman County resident
In a statement from Tyson, the company has met with the Department of Environmental Management and are taking proactive measures to address the spill.
Eric Gibson says it’s time Tyson Foods took responsibility. “We’re not going to tolerate it anymore. You’re responsible, clean up your mess,” says Gibson.
Because of the June wastewater spill, it will take the fisheries about 5 years to return to pre-spill conditions.