Contributed by Ben Kuhn

HOPE, AR – For the second time this month an issue at the Tyson Foods wastewater treatment facility resulted in the release of contaminated wastewater into an adjoining creek, leaving a film on the water, putting off a strong chemical smell and killing fish.

According to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), on Wednesday, June 18, an unknown amount of treated wastewater was released into Caney Creek from the Tyson Food plant in Hope. According to Cindy Tewalt-Kleimann, Emergency Management Coordinator for Hempstead County, this is the second time this has happened in July. The previous incident occurred on July 2 but was reportedly much smaller in scale.

The wastewater caused a white, foamy film across the surface of the creek which was found at least four miles downstream where the creek crosses Highway 278 West near the intersection with Highway 73 West. Hempstead County residents whose property adjoins the creek reported strong smells of chlorine, ammonia and bleach coming from the film. The spill also resulted in the death of some fish in the creek.

ADEQ said the incident was reported to them by Cole Hargraves of Cura Emergency Services out of Plano, TX. ADEQ has been overseeing the cleanup operation and investigating the spill.

E3 Environmental’s Shreveport office was tasked with the cleanup. Crews began arriving Wednesday and began containment and cleanup, setting up booms to prevent further contamination downstream. Crews used skimmers, pumper trucks and manual labor to clean pollutants from the creek. As of Friday afternoon, there were still some signs of the film on the water but most appeared to be cleared and the smell had subsided.

We were unable to get in touch with anyone from Tyson this week to get information and we have not received results of the tests conducted by the ADEQ but we will continue to follow up on the issue and update at a later time.

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