Report: Tyson Plant Wastewater Spills into Iowa City's Sewers

The leak released about 16,500 gallons of wastewater, with some reaching a nearby lake.

A Google Street View of Tyson Foods' beef processing facility in Storm Lake, IA.
A Google Street View of Tyson Foods' beef processing facility in Storm Lake, IA.
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Local news outlets reported last week that a wastewater spill from a Tyson Foods pork factory made its way into the storm sewers in the northwest Iowa city of Storm Lake in the early morning hours of Jan. 19.

A news release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the leak from the meat giant stating the leak began around 2:25 a.m. and ended around 2:58 a.m., and that a pump failure at the Tyson plant there was the likely cause.

The DNR said the leak released approximately 16,500 gallons of wastewater, but it wasn't known how much reached Storm Lake — just south of the plant. The city storm sewer empties into a storm water detention basin a block north of the lake, where the DNR said Tyson staff began pumping it up.

Sample testing by water collected from Storm Lake indicates no expected environmental issues, according to the DNR, which will monitor cleanup and enforcement actions.

“We took immediate action to contain the accidental release of water from the plant and are working cooperatively with city and state officials as we continue to implement our containment and cleanup measures and further evaluate the matter," Tyson said in a statement, according to local news outlets.

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